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What type of health care is offered by a family practice doctor?

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Family practice doctors diagnose and treat a full range of medical conditions in addition to offering routine checkups, immunizations, preventative care services and lifestyle counseling, explains the American Academy of Family Physicians. They often work alongside specialists to help patients manage and monitor chronic conditions, such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension. Physicians in this field see male and female patients of every age group, ranging from newborns to elderly adults.

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During their residency years, family practice doctors receive comprehensive training in gynecology, psychiatry, pediatric medicine, neurology and internal medicine, notes AAFP. They additionally receive exposure to fields such as urology, geriatrics, radiology, ophthalmology and emergency medicine. This residency training lasts three years and takes place after completing four years of medical school. Unlike many other types of physicians, a family medicine doctor's scope of practice is not limited to any disease category or organ system. About one in every five doctor's visits in the United States is to a family practice practitioner.

In the United States, family medicine practitioners provide the majority of the medical care available to people living in underserved locations, according to AAFP. Many areas would not have access to any primary care services if the field of family practice did not exist. In addition to physicians, there are also physician's assistants and nurse practitioners who practice family medicine, explains Derry Medical Center.

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