Every adult should have a primary care doctor. They are usually internal medicine doctors (internists) or family medicine doctors. Getting an annual checkup can help your doctor detect health problems early on. Untreated conditions, such as high blood pressure, can cause serious problems that are more difficult to treat.
Primary care doctors look for signs of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health problems that become more common with age. Your primary care doctor can also suggest how to prevent the development of diseases and give vaccines to adults, such as the flu shot. Specialized doctors are trained in a specific area of medicine. This allows them to treat complex health problems that primary care doctors may not be able to treat.
If you already have health problems that could affect your vision, you should see an eye doctor even sooner. Some psychiatrists have a subspecialty in a specific area, such as adolescent mental health or addiction medicine. There are also doctors who focus on children, called pediatricians, who will be your child's primary care doctors. Women may benefit from seeing a urogynecologist, a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions in the pelvic area, such as bladder prolapse, urinary incontinence, and chronic pelvic pain.
Some health insurance plans allow patients to see a specialist without needing a referral from their primary care or primary care doctor. An obstetrician-gynecologist is a doctor who specializes in obstetrics (pregnancy) and gynecology (female reproductive health). While family medicine and internal medicine doctors can treat adults, the American College of Physicians states that there are some key differences. This may include giving pain relievers, medicines to relax, or medicines to make the person fall asleep.
You should be able to communicate clearly with your doctor, so check what languages they speak to make sure they can be understood. This means that you need to see several doctors, some quite often and others only at certain points in your life. Some otolaryngologists receive additional training to focus on a specific area, such as pediatrics or rhinology, which relates to the nose and sinuses. By making sure you select an “in-network doctor”, you can avoid a surprise out-of-network charge or having to pay in full out of pocket because the doctor you've selected doesn't accept your insurance plan.