There are many types of doctors out there. It can get complicated to know who you should call and when. Here is a quick overview of some common types of doctors that you may need.
Pediatricians specialize in taking care of babies and young children. A pediatrician is a primary caregiver for children from birth up through the age of 18, although some teenagers might not like the kid-themed waiting and treatment rooms. You should call your child’s pediatrician for all your general needs like wellness checks, colds, immunizations, and screenings. Pediatricians are also trained in child development. In fact, they do their entire three-year residency working with children. If you are concerned about any health or developmental problems, call your pediatrician. If a specialist is necessary, your pediatrician will refer you.
Internal Medicine Physician
Internists are primary care types of doctors specially trained in internal medicine. They can take care of all your mild to moderate health needs and the management of many chronic conditions. However, internists only treat adults. Internists have extra training in things like heart disease, cancer or sleep problems that regularly affect adults. Make an appointment with your internal physician if you are sick or worried about the possibility of something serious.
A Family Practice Doctor is also a primary care physician. Unlike a pediatrician, who only sees children, or an internal medicine physician, who only sees adults, family practitioners treat all ages and stages of life; infants, children, teenagers, adults and the elderly. Many of them will also do women’s health. A family physician can see all the members of a family and has access to everyone’s medical records, which is great for treating and preventing things that run in your family. You should see your family doctor for all your general health concerns, including checkups and screenings, immunizations, cold and flu, and managing diabetes or other conditions.
Geriatric Medicine Physician
Another primary caregiver, Geriatric doctors specialize in the elderly. They are equipped to handle all the health problems of aging such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s. They are especially flexible and able to accommodate the needs of their elderly patients. Geriatric practitioners can do visits in their office, at the patient’s home, in an assisted living facility or even in the hospital if necessary.
A dermatologist’s specialty is the skin. If you are concerned about any moles, scars, or acne you will want to contact a dermatologist. A dermatologist can also do screenings for skin cancers. Your insurance may require a referral from your primary care physician to see a dermatologist.
An allergist or immunologist works with the immune system. They usually treat and figuring out allergies. If you have or think you might have food or skin allergies or breathing problems, like asthma you may need to see an allergist or immunologist. They can help find out what is causing it.
If you have cardiovascular problems such as heart failure, or high blood pressure, or if you have had a heart attack, you would go to a cardiologist. These doctors specialize not only in the heart but also in the blood vessels. A cardiologist can order and interpret all the tests and procedures you need to get your cardiovascular system healthy.
Endocrinologists specialize in the treatment of hormones and metabolism. They treat patients with diabetes, thyroid problems, and infertility.
When you have digestive problems, you need to see a gastroenterologist. In many cases, these doctors study your stomach, bowels, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder. If you are having unexplained abdominal pain or digestive problems, like diarrhea or jaundice or if you have cancer in any of the digestive organs, you will need to see a gastroenterologist.
For most of the health problems and injuries you will have, your primary care physician should be seen first. If they suspect bigger problems they will refer you to a specialist. It is important that your primary caregiver knows about all the specialists you are seeing and all the medications you are taking. Talk to your primary doctor today if you have any questions or concerns about your health.