GPs have a number of hidden talents, skills and experiences that many of their patients may not be aware of.

The average Australian probably does not think about visiting their GP unless they are sick.

And while everyone should book regular check-ups with their GP in the long-term interests of their health, there are numerous ways a GP can help that many people fail to appreciate.

It takes a special kind of well-rounded person to work as a GP.

While their primary function will always be diagnosing and treating common illnesses, here’s a list of some of their lesser known or hidden talents.

Nutritional guidance

In 2022, the ABS reported that 65.8% of Australians were overweight.

Obesity can trigger a wide range of health problems and chronic conditions.

There are many different reasons people struggle to keep their weight in check and poor nutrition is one of them.

While GPs are not dieticians or nutritionists, they understand the fundamentals of good nutrition and can offer expert advice to many people who lack a basic understanding.

Sleep disorders

Besides good nutrition, regular quality sleep is another essential component of good health.

GPs can assist with identifying and managing sleep-related issues like sleep apnoea, which affects around five per cent of Australians.

They may also offer advice on sleep hygiene, suggest lifestyle changes and refer patients to sleep specialists if necessary. 

Minor procedures and skin lesions

GPs can undertake minor surgical procedures that may otherwise prove more inconvenient and likely more costly if performed by a specialist.

These procedures include the removing of skin lesions, cysts and warts.

They can also check your skin for moles and skin cancers that warrant removal or further examination.

Preventative healthcare

GPs play a crucial role in the promotion, education and administration of preventative healthcare.

This includes identifying the risk of chronic disease and the suggesting of lifestyle adjustments accordingly.

It also includes vaccinations and regular screenings, which can catch the early onset of disease.

Travel medicine

Advice about travel health is another one of a GPs hidden talents.

This encompasses recommended vaccinations, the risk and prevention of diseases like malaria as well as general health precautions for people travelling overseas.

They can also provide necessary travel-related prescriptions so you have a sufficient supply of necessary medications while you are away.

Occupational health and work-related injuries

Australians spend up to a third of their lives at work.

Hence it is vital to have that part of your life in tip top shape.

GPs are well known for being the first port of call when an employee needs a medical certificate to substantiate days off work.

But they also treat work-related injuries.

And they can advise on job safety, occupational health and ergonomics and suggest workplace adjustments.

Sexual health and family planning

GPs provide a valuable point of reference for a full range of sexual health issues including contraception and family planning.

While people often shy away from addressing sexual health issues, they are much more common than most people think.

GPs can also perform routine gynaecological examinations and STD testing.

Medical examinations

While regular health checks are encouraged in the interests of prevention, sometimes an examination will be required for another reason.

It may be for a particular job, a life insurance application or for immigration purposes.

This is another standard role that your GP can perform.

Referrals to specialists

GPs are the first stop for most medical issues. 

However, they aren’t equipped to treat them all – that is when you might need to see a specialist.

A GP cannot only provide you with a referral for a specialist but can also offer you some options and recommendations for you to consider.

Your GP essentially acts as the ‘captain’ of your health team, coordinating your healthcare program and receiving reports from all specialists who treat you along the way.

Lifestyle medicine

Lifestyle medicine uses evidence-based behavioural interventions to prevent, treat and manage a range of chronic diseases.

It is based on the notion that with a push in the right direction, your body can heal itself.

It takes an holistic approach to your physical and mental wellbeing to improve its overall function.

Your GP can advise on lifestyle factors which are impacting your health.

Mental health support

Mental health is exploding not just in Australia but worldwide.

When doctors were asked about the top three reasons for patients’ visits, mental health was number one, reaching an incredible 71 per cent by 2022.

The ABS reported 21.5% of people have experienced a mental disorder lasting at least 12 months with anxiety (17.2%) being the most common ailment.

GPs are well qualified to help because one of the prerequisites of becoming one is being a great listener.

They are also compassionate and empathetic, along with being well versed on the most appropriate courses of action to help people with any kind of mental health problem, be it stress, anxiety or depression.

Book an appointment

Regular check-ups with your GP are crucial in the interests of sustained long-term health.

But sometimes, even if you do not consider yourself sick, an appointment may be warranted.

Maybe you have an annoying mole or skin tag that has surfaced.

You might be having trouble sleeping.

Or perhaps you are unhappy at work and just need to talk to someone with a welcome ear.

Whatever it may be, your GP can help with a whole range of issues you might not have even considered.

Doctors at AHA Clinics have a multitude of hidden talents.

They are kind, empathetic and are great listeners.

They take the time to really understand their patients’ concerns, whatever they may be and will consider or suggest appropriate courses of action if necessary.

Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.