At some point or another, we all need to see a doctor. Whether it’s for an annual checkup, an injury, or a chronic health condition, we rely on the expertise and care of health professionals to help us get healthy and stay healthy.
But there are many different health professionals, each with their area of focus and expertise. Often the names of these specialties can be long and hard to remember.
To help you navigate this confusing world of health professionals, here are six types of health professionals you may see throughout your life journey and what they can do for you.
Primary Care Physician – Your General Practitioner
Your primary care physician, or PCP, is typically your first point of contact when you need healthcare. They are the doctors you see for regular checkups, the flu, and other common illnesses.
PCPs are trained to provide general care for various medical issues and will refer you to specialists when necessary.
Often your PCP will help your entire family, getting to know each of you and your medical histories over time. This can make them a valuable resource for when you’re feeling sick and for preventative care, answering questions, and general health advice.
OB-GYN – Your Women’s Health Specialist
An OB-GYN, or obstetrician-gynecologist, is a physician specializing in the health of the female reproductive system.
They can provide routine care for women at all stages of life, from prenatal care during pregnancy to menopause. They also specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the reproductive system, such as infertility, endometriosis, and cancer.
Every woman should have an OB-GYN that she feels comfortable with and can regularly visit for checkups, advice, and care.
Dermatologist – Your Skin Doctor
Dermatologists specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions related to the skin, hair, and nails.
This can include acne, eczema, skin cancer, hair loss, and nail fungus. They also provide cosmetic services, such as Botox injections and laser hair removal.
If you have any concerns about a mole, a rash, or any other skin issue, you should see a dermatologist for an expert opinion. They can help ensure your skin is healthy and looking its best.
Psychiatrist – Your Mental Health Doctor
A psychiatrist is a type of doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions.
They are trained to provide psychotherapy, medication management, and other interventions to help patients manage depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.
Slightly different from a therapist, psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors and can prescribe medications to help manage mental health symptoms.
Otolaryngologist – Your Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor
An otolaryngologist is a physician specializing in diagnosing and treating ear, nose, and throat conditions.
They receive advanced training in treating conditions such as ear infections, sinus problems, sore throats, and more. They can also perform surgeries to correct structural problems in the head and neck region.
Cardiologist – Your Heart Doctor
A cardiologist is a physician that specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions of the heart and blood vessels.
They can perform echocardiograms and cardiac stress tests to diagnose heart problems and often work with other specialists to develop treatment plans for managing conditions such as heart disease, arrhythmias, and high blood pressure.
These specialists and more are available to help you manage your health and wellbeing. If you are ever unsure about who to see for a specific issue, just ask your primary care physician for a referral. They will be happy to help you find the right doctor for your health needs.