Family medicine is a specialization of medicine that deals with the health care of individuals, their families, and communities. It encompasses other aspects like mental health, prevention, wellness, community health, pediatrics—all the while promoting holistic wellness by attending to all aspects of life.
But like most areas of medicine, there is more to the vast field than first meets the eye. So, we’re here to discuss the different areas and subspecialties of family medicine, including practitioners specializing in those areas.
With the increasing number of seniors in our population, the need for doctors and other medical professionals specializing in geriatrics will only become more pressing.
Geriatrics deals with the health care of older adults and encompasses issues like treating illness, injury, disability in those patients, and their mental health. This area of family medicine is crucial and will only become more critical in the years to come.
That’s why the American Board of Internal Medicine created the subspecialty of geriatric medicine, which is open to doctors who have completed a family practice residency and are board-certified.
This area focuses on health care for those who participate in sports and physical activities, generally healthy and active individuals. But sports medicine also covers doctors whose patients have sustained injuries due to accidents or participating in contact sports.
They mainly provide care for musculoskeletal conditions, sports-related injuries, and other health issues that may arise from participation in sports. Therapies range from injury prevention to rehabilitation and are tailored towards treating the needs of each patient.
Pediatricians specialize in children’s health, including their development throughout adolescence. They provide treatment for childhood diseases, give parenting advice, and deal with any other concerns parents may have concerning their children’s health.
The continuous changes that a child experiences throughout their development require special attention and care. Hence, pediatricians work closely with other medical professionals specializing in the different stages of childhood development.
Medical professionals that specialize in dermatology provide care for skin conditions and diseases. They play a vital role in diagnosing skin cancer, managing infectious diseases like warts, and treating rashes.
They also advise on preventative measures against harmful UV rays from the sun and deal with cosmetic concerns patients have about their skin.
Emergency medicine is the area of family medicine where doctors specialize in emergency care. Their patients are usually referred to by their primary care physician, who has identified an urgent medical concern that can’t wait until regular office hours. These physicians help assess the urgency of the patient’s condition and determine if it is an emergency.
In case it is, they provide life-saving care before transporting the patient to a hospital emergency room. In non-emergencies, doctors may either treat the condition in an outpatient setting or advise when the best time for a follow-up visit is.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
A women’s doctor specializes in women’s health, which entails diagnosing and treating diseases, disorders, and conditions that affect the female reproductive system. They also provide medical assistance to pregnant women, including counseling on prenatal care, labor management during childbirth, and treatment for complications that may arise.
They are also open for support for women who are experiencing problems with fertility and menstrual cycles and those who want to know more about contraceptives and birth control.
As the name suggests, a doctor who practices internal medicine specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases in adults. They focus on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases in inpatient and outpatient settings.
They also deal with chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes that have no single cause but are influenced by genetic predisposition, age, sex, and ethnicity.
They also provide care for patients managing complex multi-system diseases like renal failure or HIV/AIDS and manage patients who have received organ transplants.
Psychiatry and Neurology
A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health disorders. They provide counseling to patients on issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other psychological problems that may require medication for treatment.
On the other hand, neurologists diagnose neurological diseases and conditions such as epilepsy, stroke paralysis, movement disorders, sleep problems, and headaches.
There are various areas of specialty in family medicine, each with its own unique set of concerns that doctors are specializing in that field deal with daily. Suppose you or your family need advice on medical matters. In that case, do not hesitate to see a doctor in any of these areas.
You have the right to know what health problems you are at risk of getting or already have and how best to manage them.