Keeping up with routine checkups with your medical doctor helps identify health issues before they become serious. Your doctor can also help you manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes and refer you to a specialist when needed. So when choosing a medical doctor, you’ll want to find someone who is best suited for your health needs, whether that’s an internal medicine specialist, pediatrician or OB-GYN.
The right medical doctor can be your guide through the various stages of life — from birth, to pregnancy, menopause and beyond. Each type of doctor has a different specialty, but they all share one thing: they are expertly trained to treat a wide range of health conditions.
Family medicine doctors, also called general practitioners, specialize in providing routine care for patients of all ages. These include physicals, screenings and immunizations. They can diagnose and treat common health conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure, and also work with you to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Internal medicine doctors, also known as internists, are experts in balancing an adult patient’s regular preventive care needs with complex care needs that often pop up in adulthood. They can handle everything from shingles to inflammatory bowel disease, and are familiar with treating adults with complex conditions such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
A pediatrician is a specialist in the health and well-being of children. They can diagnose and treat children with chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes, as well as acute conditions like ear infections, pneumonia and seizures. A pediatrician can also help you and your child navigate important milestones in a young person’s life, including vaccinations and early screenings for diseases like cancer.
An OB-GYN (obstetrician/gynecologist) is an expert in women’s reproductive and sexual health. They can perform routine women’s health exams and screenings, including pap tests and pelvic exams. They can also help you choose from available birth control options, assist with pregnancy and menopause, and help you navigate important life changes, such as family planning and adolescence.
When selecting a doctor, it’s a good idea to look for one who is a member of your medical plan’s network. This ensures that your visit will be covered at a lower cost. The good news is that many doctors offer same-day appointments if you have an urgent health care need. Click here to search for doctors, hospitals and more who are in-network. You can also get detailed estimates for procedures and services before you book.