Needing to see a doctor for a certain sickness or condition when you don’t know which specialist to go to can be quite frustrating. Usually, people wait for their family doctor to refer them to a specialist, but that’s not always convenient, especially if they’re in severe pain. That’s why it’s very important to learn about all the different medical specialties, so you’d know which doctor to see. Take a look at these different medical specialists to gain a general idea of what they do and what sort of treatment they offer. This should help you choose a doctor the next time you are booking an appointment.
Cardiologists are doctors who specialize in the field of heart health and disease. They diagnose and treat different conditions that affect the cardiovascular system, including blood vessels and blood pressure problems. You should consider seeing a cardiologist if you experience any of the following:
- Chest Pain
- Heart Attack
- Irregular Heart Beats
- Heart Murmurs
- Low or High Blood Pressure
Primary Care Physicians
People usually see their primary physician first before going to a specialist when they experience any kind of medical problem. Family physicians, for instance, treat patients of all ages, but they usually specialize in treating children, women, and older patients. Then there are General practitioners, who also treat patients of all ages. If you are unsure of what to do, then finding a GP is the first thing you should do to know whether you should look for a specialist or just get general treatment. Another type of care physicians is internists. Internists specialize in treating adults and they are trained to treat most of the organ systems in the body.
Also referred to as asthma and allergy specialists, allergists specialize in treating asthma, allergies, and other diseases that affect the immune system. Most of their patients suffer from common indoor and food allergies, which are often triggered by dust, pollen, pet dander, and certain medications.
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Gastroenterologists are doctors who specialize in treating diseases that affect the digestive system, gastrointestinal tract, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, anus, rectum, pancreas, and liver. Thanks to their extensive knowledge and training, they can diagnose many f diseases, starting from irritable bowel syndrome to colorectal cancer. They can also perform colonoscopies to locate polyps and spot any symptoms of intestinal disease. You will need to see a gastroenterologist if you are experiencing difficulty swallowing, gastric reflux, heartburn, gallstones, inflammatory bowel disease, or an enlarged liver or spleen.
A dermatologist specializes in diagnosing and treating skin disorders. Dermatology is a branch of medicine that deals with afflictions of the skin, hair, and nails. Your dermatologist should be able to diagnose skin rashes, infections, and other minor problems like hair loss. They should also be able to treat skin cancer of the mouth and external genitalia. Other disorders that they treat include nail fungus, dermatitis, eczema, scabies, herpes zoster, and fungal infections. They should have intensive experience in treating scars and different types of skin cancer.
These doctors specialize in treating glandular and hormonal disorders. Your body has an endocrine system that affects the functions of many organs in your body. This vital system comprises the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands, the ovaries, the testes, and the pancreas. Each one of these organs plays a vital role in balancing your hormone levels, regulating metabolism and energy levels, and secreting insulin to regulate blood sugar and glucagon levels. An endocrinologist treats glandular disorders where glands either overproduce or under-produce specific hormones like hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, and hypoglycemia( low blood sugar). They also treat diabetes, infertility, thyroid disease, and growth hormone deficiency.
Hepatologists treat diseases of the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver. They treat all kinds of liver diseases like liver cancer, fatty liver disease, and cirrhosis. While both hepatologists and gastroenterologists treat liver disease, hepatologists deal with more cases of viral hepatitis. They perform medical procedures including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), transhepatic pancreato-cholangiography (TPC), and transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPSS).
Now that you know which medical specialist to see, make sure to give them a background of your medical history and never be afraid to ask questions when it comes to your health. The next time you visit a doctor, have a list of your medications at the ready, and inform them of any previous drug interactions that you might have encountered with any medications. Most importantly, you need to be aware of your symptoms before visiting any doctor and check with your family doctor, if possible, to make sure you are referred to the right specialist.