A primary care physician is a doctor that you see for common medical problems. The physician, or a physician assistant or nurse practitioner in some offices, is your go-to person for your health concerns.
A primary care physician gets to know you, your habits and your health. They physician can help figure out what’s wrong with you when you are sick and keep you on the road to good health. Finding the right primary care physician is a step on the road to owning your health.
Read on to see learn more about primary care physicians.
Primary care, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians, is the care given by physicians who are trained to offer the first contact and continuing care for people with any undiagnosed health problem, regardless of where the problem originates. It includes promoting healthy habits, preventing disease, counseling, educating patients and diagnosing and treating illnesses.
The primary care practice is often where patients start making their way through the health care system. It doesn’t matter where the problem is located or what type of problem it is. If a specialist is needed, the primary care physician can help suggest one.
There are different types of primary care physicians. Here are some of the common types.
Family practice physicians are board certified to focus on this area of medicine, which includes adults and children of all ages. Your whole family may see the same family practice physician. Along with diagnosing illnesses, their practice may include minor surgery.
Pediatricians care for children anywhere from newborns up through adolescents. They can help children and teens lead a healthy life and care for illnesses that develop. Their training includes a pediatric residency and board certification, according to the website MedLinePlus.
Doctors of internal medicine diagnose and treat non-surgical diseases. They help diagnose, treat and prevent illnesses. According to the American College of Physicians, internists focus on how to prevent and treat adult diseases. They may be the ones called upon by others to “help solve puzzling diagnostic problems.”
Geriatrics, the care of the elderly, may fall under internists’ specialization. Geriatric care may include 24-hour care to elderly patients or other patients such as cancer patients who need around-the-clock care and supervision.
There are also internists who are also trained in pediatrics.
Obstetricians and gynecologists specialize in providing health care to women. Obstetricians focus on caring for women before, during and after they are pregnant, and gynecologists specialize in health issues related to the female reproductive tract.
Both a doctor of medicine and a doctor of osteopathic medicine can treat illnesses and prescribe medication. The difference is that the osteopathic doctor, or DO, looks at the whole person rather than just symptoms to diagnose a health problem. Osteopathic physicians look at how all parts of the body work together and are trained to observe the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system, or the muscles and bones.Their treatment may include using their hands to do what’s called an osteopathic manipulative treatment to diagnose, treat and prevent health problems. Much of the osteopathic physicians’ focus lies in preventive medicine.
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