What Kind of Doctor Do I Need?
09/ 07/ 2016
Finding the Right Doctor for You
Finding the right doctor can be a frustrating challenge. Our bodies’ systems are connected in complicated ways. Knowing which specialist is right for which ailment often requires time, research, and expertise. In the following slides, our experts will show you who treats what medical need, introducing many of the common—and surprising—types of doctors, including cardiologists, gynecologists, and bariatricians
Do You Need a Specialist?
For many, the decision to bring in a medical specialist is determined by one’s health care plan. HMOs require patients to first see a primary care physician, who may then refer them to a specialist. On the other hand, PPO health plans require no referral, allowing patients to choose their own specialist.
Family Physician, Internist, or General Practitioner?
Most people first bring their medical concerns to a primary care physician. There are three main types of primary care physician:
• Family Physician
-Family physicians treat patients of any age and gender. They often specialize in treating children, women, or the elderly.
• General Practitioner
-General practitioners often decide whether patients can be treated generally, or whether they need a specialist. General practitioners treat patients of all ages and genders.
- -Internists typically treat adults, and are usually found in clinics and hospitals. They are trained in treating all of the body’s major organ systems.
Know Your Doctor: Cardiologist
Cardiologists specialize in the heart and its related system, including blood vessels.
Know Your Doctor: Allergist (Asthma & Allergy Specialist)
Allergists diagnose and treat allergies, asthma and other immune system diseases using allergy tests and other diagnostics.
Know Your Doctor: Psychologist vs Psychiatrist
• Both psychologists and psychiatrists treat mental health. Both talk you through problems, and both often work together. There are important differences, though.
• Differences Between Psychologists and Psychiatrists
-Psychiatrists are medical doctors (MDs). Psychologists are doctors of science who have studied the mind and human behavior (PhDs and PsyDs). Because they are medical doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medicine, while psychologists cannot.
Know Your Doctor: Pediatrician
Pediatricians specialize in treating children. From immunization and child development to minor health problems and serious diseases, pediatricians are trained for a variety of child-related health needs.
Pediatrician Age Limit
Pediatricians typically treat patients from birth to young adulthood. The exact cutoff varies from doctor to doctor. By age 18, a child can begin seeing an adult primary care physician, but some pediatricians will continue to treat young adults until they graduate college, or until age 21.
Know Your Doctor: Rheumatologist
A rheumatologist is either an internist or a pediatrician who is specially trained to treat autoimmune conditions and musculoskeletal diseases.
Know Your Doctor: Neurologist
Neurologists treat disorders of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, as well as the “sensory receptors” of the body, including the eyes, ears, and skin.
Know Your Doctor: Orthopedic Surgeon
Orthopedic surgeons treat injuries and diseases of the body’s bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. As a result, orthopedic surgeons perform various surgeries.
Know Your Doctor: Gynecologist
Gynecologists specialize in women’s reproductive health. Some are specialists who focus on certain conditions or diseases, while others work as primary caregivers for women.
Know Your Doctor: Urologist
Urologists are surgical specialists who deal with diseases of both the male and female urinary tract, including the kidneys. Urologists also treat the male reproductive organs.
Know Your Doctor: Endocrinologist
Endocrinologists treat gland and hormone conditions and diseases like diabetes.
Know Your Doctor: Oncologist
Oncologists treat the various forms of cancer.
Know Your Doctor: Otolaryngologist (ENT)
Otolaryngologists are sometimes called ear, nose, and throat doctors (ENTs). They treat those body parts, as well as related body parts in the head and neck.
Know Your Doctor: Pulmonologist
Pulmonologists treat the lungs and related body parts.
Know Your Doctor: Gastroenterologist
Gastroenterologists treat the various parts of the digestive system, including the stomach, intestines, esophagus, liver, pancreas, colon, and rectum.
Know Your Doctor: Dermatologist
Dermatologists treat diseases and conditions of the skin, hair, and nails.
Leading Your Team of Physicians
When it comes to your health, playing an active role is important. Knowing the roles of the various medical specialists can help you make the best decisions when looking for care and treatment options.
- • Take the Lead With Your Health Care
- • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your doctors want you to understand your health care options.
- • Make sure all of your doctors know your health history.
- • Bring a list of medications you are taking each time you visit a new doctor.
- • Remember that it may take more than one specialist to treat complex medical conditions.