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H
ealth Hint #343
 


See Your Primary Doctor Before You See a Specialist

© American Institute for Preventive Medicine, DonR. Powell PhD

Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer



Internists, family doctors and pediatricians are examples of primary care doctors. They give general medical care. If you are a member of a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO), your primary care doctor is the doctor you select from the HMO plan to be the "gatekeeper" of all your medical needs. This person could be a family doctor, internist, obstetrician/gynecologist, etc. Whether or not you belong to an HMO, call or see your primary care doctor before you see a specialist. If your primary care doctor cannot take care of your health problem, he or she will refer to a specialist.

Doctors and Their Specialties.

The most common specialists and what they do are:

Allergist - Diagnoses and treats allergies
Anesthiologist - Administers anesthetics that are used during surgery
Cardiologist - Diagnoses and treats problems of the heart and blood vessels
Dermatologist - Diagnoses and treats diseases and problems of the skin
Emergency Medicine - Specializes in rapid recognition and treatment of trauma or acute illness
Endocrinologist - Diagnoses disorders of internal glands such as the thyroid and adrenal glands
Family practitioner - Provides total health care of the individual and the family. Scope is not limited by age, gender or organ system
Gastroenterologist - Diagnoses and treats disorders of the digestive tract: stomach, bowels, liver, gallbladder and related organs
Gynecologist - Diagnoses and treats disorders, of the female reproductive system
Internist - Diagnoses and treats diseases, especially those of adults
Nephrologist - Diagnoses and treats disorders of the nervous system.
Obstetrician - Provides care and treatment of females during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, and six weeks after delivery
Oncologist - Diagnoses and treats all types of cancer and other types of benign and malignant tumors
Ophthalmologist - Diagnoses, monitors and treats vision problems and other disorders of the eye, and prescribes prescription lenses
Orthopedist - Diagnoses and treats skeletal injuries and diseases of the bones and muscles
Otolaryngologist - Diagnoses and treats disorders that affect the ears, respiratory and upper alimentary systems (in general, the head and neck)
Pathologist - Examines and diagnoses organs, tissues and body fluids
Pediatrician - Diagnoses and treats the physical, emotional and social problems of children
Physiatrist - Provides physical and rehabilitative treatment fo muscle and bone disorders
Psychiatrist - Treats and prevents mental, emotional and/or behavioral disorders
Radiologist - Uses X-rays and radiant energy for diagnosis and treatment of disease
Urologist - Diagnoses and treats diseases of the urinary tract or urogenital tract

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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.