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People with medical conditions tend to visit a doctor for help. There are various types of doctor, and an individual’s specific conditions will usually determine the kind of doctor they go for.

There are numerous types of doctors, but there are two major categories that include primary care and speciality care.

Amongst these two categories, doctors differ extensively in their professional area and level of discipline. This article will discuss the various kinds of doctors, their functions, the ailments they treat, and the treatments they perform.

Primary care doctors

A primary care doctor is an individual who:

  • Treats minor ailments
  • Performs health examinations
  • Answers health-related questions
  • Refers patient to specialists when needed
  • Conducts regular health tests, including tests for blood sugar levels or cholesterol
  • Keeps an individual’s medical records

A primary care doctor might be one of the following types:

Family practice physician

Family practice physicians are also known as family medicine doctors. They treat individuals, regardless of age.

Internal medicine physician

An internal medicine physician conducts similar tasks as a family practice physician. Nonetheless, internal medicine physicians attend to only adults.

Internal medicine vs family medicine physicians

Aside from the fact that both internal medicine and family medicine physician can treat grown-ups, there are some significant differences between them.

For instance, internal medicine doctors have a comprehensive knowledge of both general medicine and subspecialties. They are also focused on medical problems that affect adults.

Family physicians, on the other hand, have extensive training in medicine that enables them to care for both children and grown-ups. They can treat a broad range of medical problems and promote disease prevention as well as health maintenance.


Paediatricians are focused on treating kids from birth to young adulthood. They might be a child’s primary care physician and are trained in:

  • Well-baby and well-child visits
  • Childhood vaccines
  • Disease prevention for children and infants
  • School or sports physicals
  • Dealing with illnesses and injuries in children and babies

Geriatric medicine doctors

Geriatric medicine doctors, also called geriatricians, are doctors that focus on caring for older adults.

Following the American Medical Association, geriatricians are family medicine or internal medicine doctors that have training in:

  • The ageing system
  • The diagnosis and treatment of diseases as well as conditions that affect older adults
  • Preventive care for older adults

Speciality doctors

Speciality doctors are doctors that have training in a particular area of medicine. This enables them to deal with complicated health issues that primary care doctors might not be able to handle.

Speciality doctors include the following:


An allergist or immunologist is focused on preventing and dealing with allergic conditions. These often include numerous kinds of allergies and asthma.

Following the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergists need to complete extra years of study in the field of allergy & immunology after getting a medical degree. Allergists also have training in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Dermatologists concentrate on treating diseases, and conditions of the nails, skin, and hair and these conditions include skin cancer, eczema, acne, and psoriasis.

Dermatologists can conduct some in-office operations that include mole and spot removal. They also provide aesthetic procedures like Botox injections, chemical peels, and dermal fillers.

Infectious disease doctors

Infectious disease doctors focus on diseases and conditions that are widespread.

These diseases may include:

  • Cellulitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Infections after surgery or hospital care
  • Bacterial infections that have Clostridium difficult; a bacterium that provokes diarrhoea and stomach issues
  • Tuberculosis
  • Influenza
  • HIV
  • Parasite infections

Infectious disease doctors are also required to be trained in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Ophthalmologists are doctors that specialize in eye and vision care. They treat conditions of the eyes and conduct eye surgery.

Ophthalmologists attend to people with complex eye disorders and might also see individuals for regular eye care, which include prescribing glasses and performing eye checkups.


Obstetrician/gynaecologists (OB/GYNs) are doctors that provide preventive care and illness management for female health conditions.

These conditions include:

Several women visit an OB/GYN during pregnancy and for labour. They might also see them for periodic checkups and tests that include breast exams and Pap tests.


Cardiologists are doctors that specialize in the cardiovascular system that includes the heart and blood vessels.

They care for numerous cardiovascular conditions, such as:

Cardiologists can conduct several examinations and protocols, but they do not perform heart surgery. Cardiologists also need to have experience in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Endocrinologists are doctors that treat ailments and conditions that affect the endocrine system. This system includes different glands that generate and release hormones in the body.

Endocrinologists treat hormone-related ailments that include:

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Growth issues in kids
  • Infertility
  • Adrenal gland conditions
  • Hormone imbalances

Endocrinologists also need to have training in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Gastroenterologists specialize in the digestive systems that include the oesophagus, liver, pancreas, stomach, colon, small intestine, and gallbladder.

Gastroenterologists conduct procedures like sigmoidoscopy, endoscopy, and colonoscopy. They are required to have training in internal medicine or paediatrics.


A nephrologist is a doctor that specializes in kidney care and conditions, and these conditions include:

  • Renal (kidney) failure
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Lupus
  • Hypertension
  • Kidney stones
  • Transplants and dialysis

They are also required to have experience in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Urologists are doctors that treat disorders of the urinary tract in both males and females. They also specialize in male reproductive health. Some urologists concentrate on a particular area within urology that includes female urology or male infertility.


Pulmonologists speciality involves the treating of the organs that are associated with breathing. These organs include the lungs and heart. Pulmonologists could work in hospitals to offer ventilation or life support.

They also visit people in the office to care for breathing disorders, lung conditions, and allergies. Pulmonologists are required to have training in internal medicine or paediatrics.


Otolaryngologists are also known as “ear, nose, and throat” (ENT) doctors. An ENT doctor treats conditions that involve the sinuses, tonsils, throat, mouth, ears, head, and neck.

Several ENT doctors undergo extra training to focus on a particular area that includes paediatrics or rhinology, which involves the nose and sinuses.


Neurologists are doctors that deal with conditions of the spine, nerves, and brain. People might visit a neurologist for:


A psychiatrist is a doctor that cares for mental health conditions. They make use of counselling, medication, or hospitalization as part of their treatment. Some psychiatrists have a subspecialty in a particular area like addiction medicine or adolescent mental health.


Oncologists are doctors that treat cancer and its symptoms. Throughout the treatment of cancer, an individual could have various types of healthcare professional in their care team.

Following the American Cancer Society, some cancer care professionals have special training in:

  • Specific cancer treatments
  • Certain types of cancer
  • Cancer-related health issues
  • Certain regions of the body
  • Care coordination

Oncologists are required to have experience in internal medicine or paediatrics.


A radiologist focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions employing medical imaging tests. They read and interpret scans like X-rays, mammograms, MRIs, ultrasound, and CT scans.

They are three types of a radiologist:

  • Diagnostic radiologists: These doctors make use of imaging procedures to detect health matters. They can also interpret images on tests as well as providing information to an individual’s doctor about the findings.
  • Interventional radiologists: These doctors utilize imaging, including X-rays and MRI scans, for specific medical procedures. They can help deal with conditions such as stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Radiation oncologists: These doctors specify cancer treatment employing radiation therapy.


A rheumatologist deduces and treats rheumatic issues. These are autoimmune conditions that involve the bones, joints, and muscles.

Few widespread rheumatic diseases include:

  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gout
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Scleroderma

Rheumatologists are required to have training in internal medicine or paediatrics.

General surgeons

General surgeons conduct surgical procedures on various organs and bodily systems. They may have experience in diseases of the:

  • Endocrine system
  • Breast
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Abdomen
  • Skin

A general surgeon also treats a patient before and after their surgery.

Orthopaedic surgeons

An orthopaedic surgeon treats diseases and conditions of the bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and joints.

They may treat:

  • Sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Broken bones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone tumours
  • Repetitive strain injuries that include tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome

Cardiac surgeons

Cardiac surgeons conduct heart surgery and may work with a cardiologist to deduce what a patient requires. Cardiac surgeons conduct treatments that include heart bypass surgery and positioning stents in the heart.


Anesthesiologists specialize in an individual’s well-being before, during, and after surgery. This may involve administering pain medication, relaxation drug, or pill to put the patient to sleep.

Anesthesiologists survey a patient throughout the surgery to guarantee that their body’s vital signs are stable. They could also look after the patient as soon as the surgery is concluded to ensure that their pain is under control.

Every doctor goes through their unique training and education, which enable them to deduce and treat certain diseases and conditions.

Considering that there are various types of doctors, the majority of people visit a primary care physician first for health matters. This doctor may then recommend the patient to contact a specialist when they require one.


  • What Are the Different Types of Doctors? – WebMD
  • The Most Common Physician Specialties–Verywellhealth