What Kind of Doctor is a Primary Care Doctor?

A primary care physician is the individual, you can most often count on to assist you in managing your basic healthcare. They are likely to be able to diagnose and treat many common chronic illnesses such as diabetes or hypertension, and can help you maintain your ideal weight. But how do you choose a primary care physician? Here are some helpful tips.

Some insurance companies may pay for preventive care such as cholesterol screening, or an annual physical. If your health plan does this, it's a good idea to inquire about what kinds of "preventive" exams your provider offers. If your provider doesn't offer a service like that, you may be able to add it to your plan. Many primary care doctors also have a private health plan through which they provide specific services, like cholesterol screening, to their patients. Be sure to ask if this is an option, as it may be more expensive than a normal insurance provider.

If you have trouble getting primary care doctors who accept your insurance, or who are willing to accept your insurance, it's still possible to get one. Many health plan providers have "specialists" who only accept certain health plans. In fact, some doctors specialize in certain conditions and procedures. For example, gynecologists generally don't offer breast exams, unless they're part of a health plan that covers them.


Doctors who specialize in internal medicine are usually internal medicine specialists-doctors who specialize only in diagnosing and treating digestive disorders, such as irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal problems. It's not unusual for primary care doctors to choose to focus on internal medicine, in order to avoid the cost of extra patient visits and procedures. Some internal medicine doctors also choose to be full-time gastroenterologists instead of general practitioners. These doctors treat patients with a wide variety of medical problems, including cancer, colitis, Crohn's disease, and irritable bowel syndrome.

Primary care physicians also commonly offer specialized screenings for various health problems. Common screenings offered by primary care doctors include immunizations, blood tests, cholesterol levels, height and weight measurement, and blood glucose tests. Health insurance plans often require specific screenings that are deemed "essential" by the health plan in order to cover them; therefore, if your primary doctor doesn't offer these screenings, he may not be able to provide the coverage you need.

Other types of specialty doctors include dermatologists, orthopedists, surgeons, cardiologists, pediatricians, and other specialties. These doctors work closely with patients in providing diagnosis, treatment, and other related services. Many primary care doctors work closely with other specialists to help ensure the best care possible.

If you have ever asked what kind of physician is a primary care doctor, the answer might surprise you. As it turns out, primary care physicians can specialize in just about any field of medicine. They can be pediatricians, like pediatricians who diagnose and treat children;
cardiologists, who specialize in heart conditions; orthopedists, who treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system; and surgeons, who perform operations that improve or protect the patient's ability to survive. Although some primary care doctors like diabetes, cancer, and heart conditions tend to focus their attention primarily on adults, there are many physicians who work in pediatric, gynecological, and gynecologic settings. And, primary care doctors can even specialize in a sub-specialty like pediatrics.

A primary care doctor's job will likely involve screening for high risk factors for health problems. Health professionals agree that prevention is better than cure, so primary care doctors often screen for various conditions that can result in serious health problems if left untreated. The screenings may include blood pressure checks, height and weight tests, blood tests for cholesterol and other nutrients, as well as screenings for sexually transmitted diseases. Screening for such things as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cholesterol is an important part of the preventive care recommended for patients with these kinds of conditions.

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