What Are Primary Care Doctors?


Quick Answer

Primary care doctors act as the first point of contact for patients, and refer them to appropriate specialists when necessary. Primary care physicians come in five basic types: family medicine doctors, internists, gynecologists, geriatricians and pediatricians. These doctors offer slightly different care, making them ideal for certain individuals.

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Full Answer

When choosing a primary care physician, people take several factors into consideration. All physicians receive basic standard training, including achieving medical degrees and completing a specific amount of training. Their practice covers several areas of care, including achieving optimal health, diagnosing and treating illness and injury, prescribing medications and referring patients to specialists when needed. However, many focus on certain areas of healthcare, making them suitable for different needs.

For families with children, family medicine doctors make ideal choices. These professionals see people of all ages, ranging from young children to seniors. According to the Lehigh Valley Health Network, internists generally see patients age 14 and older. These physicians spend considerable time studying bodily organs, and may focus on other areas, such as sports medicine. Gynecologists treat women, and specialize in women's health issues. Geriatricians see older patients, and cater to men and women age 60 and older. They offer routine care, prescribe medicine and work with other healthcare professionals for ideal care surrounding aging issues. Lastly, pediatricians cater to care for children, although they may see patients through age 21.

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