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Doctors: Who Does What?

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Doctors: Who Does What?

Have you ever heard the professional name of a specific kind of doctor and wondered what, exactly, that doctor does? You’re not alone. The medical profession is a virtual alphabet soup of specialties. Here’s a quick look at what some of the most common titles mean (and here’s hoping you never have to get to know most of them):

Allergist: Allergies and immune system disorders.

Andrologist: Male reproductive health.

Audiologist: Hearing loss or damage.

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Cardiologist: Heart and blood vessels.

Chiropractor: Provides alternative therapy to treat and prevent the neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Not a medical doctor.

Critical/Intensive-care Specialist: Treats life-threatening conditions.

Dermatologist: Skin, nails, hair, sweat glands.

Endocrinologist: Hormones and glands.

Family/General Practitioner: Provides routine, non-emergency treatment and advice on an ongoing basis.

Gastroenterologist: The gastrointestinal tract and organs (stomach, liver, esophagus, gall bladder, bile ducts, intestines, pancreas, anus, etc.).

Geriatrician: Provides routine treatment for elderly patients.

Female reproductive health.

Hematologist: Blood diseases.

Manages the care of patients who are hospitalized.

Immunologist: Immune system diseases and disorders.

Infectious Disease Specialist: Diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, or parasites.

Internist: Specializes in treating adults.

Premature and critically ill newborns.


Diagnoses and treats brain conditions, including seizures, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Obstetrician: Specializes in childbirth, C-sections, and gynecological surgeries.

Oncologist: Diagnoses and treats cancer.

Ophthalmologist: Eyes and vision.

Orthopedist: Bones, ligaments, joints, and tendons.

Osteopath: Licensed physicians who earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree (DO) instead of a Doctor of Medicine degree (MD), many osteopaths serve as general practitioners. Specially trained in the nervous system and the musculoskelatal system.

Palliative Care Specialist: Alleviating chronic pain, and end of life care.

Pathologist: Diagnoses conditions from tissue samples.

Specializes in infants, children, and adolescents.

Podiatrist: Feet and ankles.

Pulmonologist: Lung disease and disorders.

Radiologist: Interprets X-rays, sonograms, mammograms, CT scans, and MRI scans.

Treats rheumatism, vasculitis, and autoimmune disorders.

Kidneys and urinary system.

Vascular Medicine Specialist: Arteries and veins.

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