Primary Care Physician
general practitioners, primary care physicians treat an array of common, chronic,
and acute illnesses. Primary care doctors treat everything
from sore throats to heart conditions, although some conditions may warrant a
referral to a specialist. A patient diagnosed with congestive heart disease
(CHF), for instance, may be referred to a cardiologist for evaluation at the
time of initial diagnosis. However, a
primary care physician can likely manage most chronic stable CHF patients over
the long term.
Other common ailments treated by primary
care doctors include thyroid disease,
arthritis, depression, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Primary
care doctors also keep track of your vaccination status, and provide other
types of preventive care, such as age appropriate health maintenance practices.
For example, middle-aged men may expect to have regular screening tests for
prostate cancer. Similarly, all persons
of average risk for colon cancer should be referred for colon cancer screening
beginning at age 50.
Beginning at around 35 years of age,
men should also be screened for high cholesterol. Your physician will typically
recommend that you have your blood lipid profile assessed annually. Your primary
care physician will ideally serve as
a home base for your medical care, referring
you to specialists as
needed, and keeping your health records in one place for future reference. Men and boys should have a physical checkup at least once a
you have a chronic condition, such as hypertension or diabetes, you may wish to
see an internist. Also
known as internal medicine specialists, internists are to adults as pediatricians are to children.
Internists are specifically trained to treat adult diseases.
Dermatologists specialize in the treatment of the skin, hair, and nails. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and it is prone to
common problems such as acne in adolescence, and skin cancer later in life. Men
of Northern European ancestry tend to be at greater risk of developing skin cancer
than men with darker skin. Men who have suffered severe sunburn in childhood or
repeated sun exposure resulting in burning should see a dermatologist for skin
cancer screening. Your dermatologist can conduct an annual full-body skin check for
any unusual moles or
other anomalies, which could signal skin cancer.
See a dentist to have your teeth cleaned
twice a year. If you develop a cavity or other dental problem, your dentist
will be in charge of this care.
Modern dentistry is relatively painless and often highly effective at dealing
with many complicated problems. Dentists can screen for conditions such as
periodontitis or oral cancer. Proper care and cleaning of the teeth reduces the
incidence of periodontitis. Untreated periodontitis has been linked to an
increased risk of cardiovascular disease and lung infections, making proper
tooth care all the more important.
Optometrist or Ophthalmologist
Optometrists and ophthalmologists specialize in the treatment of problems related to the eyes and vision. Optometrists are
qualified to screen for a variety of health issues related to the eyes,
including glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal diseases. Ophthalmologists are
medical doctors qualified to perform a complete spectrum of eye-related
services, including delicate eye surgery. If you just need to have your vision
checked, you will most likely see an optometrist. If you develop a problem with your eyes that requires surgery, you may be referred to an
Urologists specialize in the treatment of the male and female urinary tract. They also specialize in the male reproductive system. Men see urologists for conditions such
as an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or cancers of the urinary tract. Other common concerns addressed by
urologists include male infertility and
sexual dysfunction problems.