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Why Having a Primary Care Physician is So Important
For many people, making sure their children and family members receive regular health checkups is near the top of their list, but many neglect their own health and well being.  Having a primary care physician (PCP) can help assure that you take care of yourself as well.

Making sure you obtain a PCP and scheduling regular appointments is vital to your long-term health.  “Creating and building that relationship with your doctor is the key to maintaining good health overall,” stresses Carmen Echols, M.D., a family medicine physician practicing at Flat Shoals Internal Medicine located in Decatur. Your PCP will be able to provide preventive care that may help avoid serious illnesses down the road. “Without a PCP,” she explains,” some people will either wait until they are really sick before they decide to make an appointment or they’ll make an unnecessary trip to the emergency room for simple cold and flu symptoms, which usually will cost the patient more money out of pocket.”  Either way it’s a losing scenario. With a PCP they can be seen and taken care of right away.

Dr. Echols goes on to share that the doctor/patient relationship should function the same as any good marriage or relationship- with open and honest communication. Yes, the doctor will know your medical history, family history and even personal lifestyle habits to some degree, but communicating freely and letting your physician get to know you will provide him/her with enough knowledge to recommend the best treatment and care for you.  Additionally, your PCP can refer you to a specialist, if necessary, and can assist with coordinating any outside care.  Your PCP will also make sure to remind you of your annual screenings, which are important for early detection, as well as any needed immunizations. Whether you are physically fit or someone dealing with new or chronic health issues, having a PCP gives you the best chance of enjoying a healthy, active life.  

Dr. Echols is a board-certified family medicine physician. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana, her medical degree at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and completed her internship and residency in Family Medicine at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta, Georgia. She is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians. She is also a member of Gamma Gamma Chi Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Echols’ special medical interests include (but are not limited to) adolescent medicine, diabetes, hypertension, women's health, and integrative and holistic medicine. Patients can visit her for annual and school physicals (including pap smears); education and management of chronic illnesses such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc., as well as acute illnesses such as colds, flu and rashes. Dr. Echols is able to see patients ages 7 and up. All children must have completed their initial series of pediatric shots.

 Dr. Echols enjoys doing volunteer community service, West African dance, attending cultural events and festivals, traveling and gourmet cooking. She is married and has an English Bulldog.

To schedule an appointment with Carmen Echols, M.D., contact her office at 404.585.5049. 

Flat Shoals Internal Medicine’s office is located at 4153-B Flat Shoals Parkway, Suite 200, Decatur, GA 30034. 

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