One of the best ways a parent can help maintain their child’s health through adolescence is by ensuring they have an annual wellness exam.
It’s common for adolescents to transition from a pediatrician to a family medicine doctor, ARNP or physician assistant. Insurance plans call this a primary-care physician or PCP who acts as a go-to person for a teen’s health needs.
When a teen has a primary doctor, they can be better treated when a serious health issue occurs by someone who already knows their background and medical history.
The most common reasons teens see a doctor is for sports clearance, illness or injury, an ongoing health issue or an annual wellness exam.
Dr. Joy Welty, a Family Care Network provider, said an exam is helpful because sometimes teens don’t know what “normal” is and if they’re embarrassed about something, a primary doctor can provide reassurance while answering their questions and concerns.
A typical exam covers age-appropriate health topics like diet and exercise, mental, social and sexual health, drug and alcohol use and safety.
“Discussions about birth control, mental health, tobacco vaping and marijuana use - these are all things that have a lot of misinformation out there,” Welty said. “Getting information with medical evidence and not the most popular blog advice can be very helpful.”
As adolescents go through physical changes, they may be more susceptible to negative mental changes and could face risks of developing unhealthy habits.
A wellness exam not only provides adolescents with necessary health information, but they also help them navigate health and mental challenges while preparing them for maintaining healthy habits in their future.
“Learning healthy habits and changing lifestyle patterns - these are the things that truly garner life-long health,” Welty said.
If your teen needs a primary doctor, please visit www.familycarenetwork.com/new-patients.