Different Types of Physicians Explained
Doctors or physicians are categorized according to different factors including medical specialties and subspecialties. Most doctors specialize in a specific area of medicine. This article provides a summary of the different types of doctors in the medical field.
Allergists are also called immunologists. They are doctors who are specially trained when it comes to identifying, diagnosing, treating, and managing immunological disorders, such as allergies, asthma, and other primary immunodeficiency disorders.
Anesthesiologists administer drugs to help keep patients comfortable and safe during and after surgery, such as childbirth and other surgical procedures. These doctors are usually part of a surgical team and monitor the vital signs of patients who are under anesthesia.
When primary care providers suspect significant heart problems in their patients, they usually call on a cardiologist for further medical evaluation. Cardiologists are experts when it comes to the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of heart diseases and blood vessel problems.
They usually treat heart attacks, heart rhythm disturbances, heart failure, high blood pressure, and other serious heart conditions. Their expertise is also required when patients need certain procedures, such as heart surgery, balloon angioplasty, and cardiac catheterization.
Colon and Rectal Surgeon
These doctors are also called colorectal surgeons or proctologists. They see patients who have problems in their small intestine, colon, rectum, and anus. They treat hemorrhoids and inflammatory bowel disease, including colon cancer. These specialists can also perform a colonoscopy and colorectal screening tests.
Critical Care Medicine Specialists
Critical care medicine specialists are also called intensivists. They are doctors who specialize in treating critically injured or ill patients who are admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). In most cases, intensivists are cardiologists (heart doctors), neurologists (experts in nervous system disorders), and pulmonologists (lung disease specialists).
They may also specialize in other areas, such as pediatrics, internal medicine, or anesthesiology along with having a subspecialist certificate in critical care medicine practice.
Dentists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of problems related to oral health. They also provide proper care and instruction on how to take care of the teeth and gums, including dietary choices that can significantly affect oral health. Dentists are seen working in private practices, dental hospitals, or institutions, such as military bases and prisons.
These doctors specialize in diseases that affect the skin, hair, and nails. Dermatologists are also capable of performing both surgical and nonsurgical therapies.
Endocrinologists are specialists who are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of problems involving the endocrine system. They are experts when it comes to hormones and human metabolism. They also treat a number of conditions, such as:
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Thyroid gland problems
- Obesity and appetite problems
- Neurological disorders
- Bone and calcium disorders
Emergency Medicine Specialists
Emergency medicine specialists are also called ER doctors, who specialize in emergency medical care. These doctors are trained in diagnosing and treating different medical emergencies in a hospital's emergency department.
Family Medicine Specialists
They are also called family doctors, who care for the whole family, including children, adolescents, adults, and people of old age. People usually see a family doctor for routine medical checkups, immunization shots, screening tests, managing diabetes, and other health conditions.
These are the doctors who specialize in the management of gastrointestinal tract and liver diseases. Patients usually see them for problems in the digestive organs, abdominal pain, ulcers, jaundice, diarrhea, and cancer.
Geriatric Medicine Specialists
They are also called geriatricians, who take special care of the elderly. They also treat patients at nursing clinics, doctor's offices, hospitals, and assisted-living facilities.
These are expert healthcare providers who focus on patients with blood disorders and malignancies, including lymphatic system and bone marrow disorders. Patients who have anemia, sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia, lymphoma, or leukemia usually see a hematologist.
Hospice and Palliative Medicine Specialists
Hospice and palliative medicine specialists are doctors who help patients who are seriously ill. They help improve their patient's quality of life at any stage of illness, whether the illness is acute, chronic, or critical.
These doctors may also work with a multidisciplinary team to help address both the needs of patients and their family. They also focus on the management of the patient's symptoms and help in making ethical and legal decisions, especially when it comes to issues regarding a patient's death or the patient's dying process.
Infectious Disease Specialists
An infectious disease doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi. These infections include pneumonia, tuberculosis, Lyme disease, and HIV/AIDS. In some cases, these doctors specialize in travel medicine or preventive medicine.
Internists also called internal medicine physicians, see adult patients who either have common or complex diseases. They have advanced training in a number of different subspecialties, which include cancer, heart disease, and sleep medicine. They usually see patients who have hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, chronic lung problem, and obesity.
Geneticists specialize in the science of genetics. They help identify, diagnose, and treat disorders that are genetically passed down from parent to child. They also conduct screening tests and provide genetic counseling services.
Neonatologists are experts in providing newborn care and newborn conditions, such as infections, birth defects, and breathing disorders. They also medically manage premature newborns, newborns who are critically ill, and newborns who need surgery.
Also called as kidney doctors, nephrologists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. They also treat patients with high blood pressure including electrolyte and fluid imbalances that are related to kidney disease.
A neurologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system diseases. They usually treat patients with epilepsy, brain and spinal tumors, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and stroke.
These doctors specialize in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of peripheral and central nervous system disorders, including stroke, brain and spinal infections, tumors, trauma, degenerative spine conditions, vascular disorders, and congenital anomalies.
Also called as brain surgeons, neurosurgeons can provide both surgical and nonsurgical treatment depending on a patient's illness or injury.
An OB-GYN is a specialist who offers medical services involving the female reproductive health, pregnancy, and childbirth. They are also trained in both obstetrics and gynecology. They conduct pelvic exams, Pap smears, and prenatal checkups.
Oncologists are also called cancer specialists. They provide medical care and treatment for patients who are diagnosed with cancer. They provide cancer treatments such as chemotherapy. Oncologists also work with surgeons and radiation oncologists in caring for patients with cancer.
Ophthalmologists are eye doctors who are specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and injuries. They can also operate on the eyes and treat all types of eye problems. They can also prescribe both glasses and contact lenses as well as treat diseases such as glaucoma.
An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who treats diseases and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, which includes the muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, and nerves. They specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of problems that involve the musculoskeletal system.
Osteopaths practice osteopathy and are licensed medical doctors. They have a holistic approach to healthcare and use manual techniques to help balance the body systems. They usually focus on the overall health of their patients and not only on the affected or injured areas.
Doctors of osteopathic medicine (DO) see people who have back pain, headaches, arthritis, tennis elbow, postural problems, including digestive issues.
These are doctors who are specially trained in the management and treatment of patients who have ear, nose, and throat (ENT) disorders, including plastic and reconstructive surgery of the neck and head.
Pathologists are laboratory doctors, who help identify and diagnose diseases by examining tissue samples, blood, and bodily fluids under the microscope.
These are doctors who specialize in children and their diseases. They treat infants, children, and adolescents with a variety of health issues from the common colds to severe infections.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians (PM&R)
Also called as physiatrists, PM&R doctors specialize in the physical management and rehabilitation of injuries involving the back, neck, and spinal cord. They also treat sports injuries and other disabilities that are caused by diseases or accidents.
Plastic surgeons are also called cosmetic surgeons, who help repair or reconstruct the body, skin, hands, face, or breasts caused by injuries of diseases.
Podiatrists are also commonly called foot doctors, who help manage and treat problems involving the feet the ankles. Some foot doctors also possess advanced training in other subspecialty expertise of the ankle and foot. They also handle patients with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and those who have had accidents and sports-related injuries.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who focus on the identification, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental, behavioral, emotional, and addictive disorders. These doctors treat patients with depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, schizophrenia, including sexual and gender identity disorders. Some psychiatrists also focus on the elderly, adolescents, or children.
Pulmonologists are pulmonary specialists who see people with breathing issues and lung problems, such as asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, and lung cancer.
A rheumatologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and rheumatic diseases. They usually see patients with arthritis and diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, and tendons, including those who have osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, and sports injuries.
Sleep Medicine Specialists
These doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, such as snoring, sleep apnea, and shift work-related issues.
Sports Medicine Specialists
These specialists help prevent, diagnose, and treat sports and exercise-related injuries.
Urologists are doctors who have special training in the management of the male reproductive system as well as urinary tract problems of both males and females. There are urologists who treat general urinary tract diseases while others focus on a specific type of urology, such as female urology.
They can also provide surgical treatment for males and females who have urinary tract problems. They also perform prostate examinations and treat infertility issues in men.