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.
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.
Gynecologist: Female reproductive health.
Hematologist: Blood diseases.
Hospitalist: 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.
Neonatologist: Premature and critically ill newborns.
Neurologist: 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.
Pediatrician: 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.
Rheumatologist: Treats rheumatism, vasculitis, and autoimmune disorders.
Urologist: Kidneys and urinary system.
Vascular Medicine Specialist: Arteries and veins.