What is Your Specialty, Doc?
Stephen is going to medical school. He has always wanted to be a doctor. When he tells his grandmother the fantastic news, she asks him what kind of doctor he wants to be. Stephen pauses and consider the question. He has never consider if he wants to be a general physician, a surgeon or a specialist. His grandmother gives him a pamphlet titled, “What Kind of Doctor Do I Need.” It is a pamphlet she got from her general physician’s office. Stephen uses the pamphlet to get an overview of what each medical doctor does.
Allergist and Immunologist
If Stephen chooses to be an allergist/immunologist, he will spend his days evaluating, diagnosing and treating allergies, and disorders of the immune system. Stephen knows that allergies are caused by the immune system overreacting to irritants such as pollen, foods, smoke, mold, or medicine.
An allergist diagnoses allergies and their severity by looking for particular symptoms. Symptoms include sneezing, tears in eyes, runny nose and rash. If a reaction is severe, shortness of breath, trouble breaking and chest tightness can occur. If Stephen wants to be an allergist, he has to know the cause of the reaction in order to recommend a treatment that will avoid the allergen and decrease the symptoms.
He should also familiarize himself with the following medical conditions: asthma, anaphylasis, rhinitis, eczema, urticarial, adverse reactions to drugs, foods and insect stings, human immunodeficiency virus, lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.
Stephen wants to be a doctor, but he does not know if he will be able to interact with patients all day. An anesthesiologist puts patients to sleep before surgery by using anesthesia. They have little interaction with patients. However, it is there job to assess the lungs, heart and circulation of a patient to see if the body can handle the anesthesia and to determine how much anesthesia is needed. An anesthesiologist has to monitor the patient during surgery to make sure there are not any complications.
Stephen’s family has a history of heart disease. If he specializes in cardiology, he can help treat his family. As a cardiologist, Stephen will diagnose heart failure, heart attacks, cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure.
He will treat patients who have chest pains, irregular heartbeats (like his mom), abnormal heartbeats, heart murmurs (like his grandmother), heart muscle disease, pulmonary hypertension, low blood pressure, shock, heart failure, coronary artery disease, etc. He will treat any condition that affects the heart and blood flow.
Stephen remembers suffering from acne during his teen years. He will love to stop someone when they are going through such an embarrassing phase of life. If he becomes a dermatologist, he will specialize in the structure, function and disorders of the skin, nails and hair.
Stephen will spend his days treating skin rashes, growths, hair loss, infections and nail problems. Stephen likes the idea of being a dermatologist until he reads that he will have to remove warts and biopsy skin for skin cancers.
Stephen likes to be spontaneous. Nothing is more spontaneous than emergency medicine. If Stephen decides to go into emergency medicine, he will work in an emergency clinic or room and will have to know how to treat sudden illnesses, accidents and injuries.
Stephan knows how glands and hormones can affect the body and behavior. If he becomes an endocrinologist, he will be able to diagnose and treat disorders of hormones and glands. When a part of the endocrine system is damaged, your glands will over or under produce hormones. This leads to several disorders such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, Grave’s disease, pituitary tumors, Addison’s disease and Cushing’s Syndrome.
Stephen loves the relationship he has with his family doctor. A primary care doctor or family practitioner is usually the first doctor to treat patients for diseases that are latter handled by a specialist. A family practitioner’s job is to give care, provide preventive care, and handle any minor illness.
This doctor specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders associated with the malfunction of the digestive system. If Stephen chooses to become a gastroenterologist, he will treat difficulty swallowing, cirrhosis of the liver, gallstones, hepatitis, jaundice, inflammatory bowel disease, chronic pancreatitis, indigestion, blood stools, peptic ulcer, stomach ulcers and any other disorder related to the gastrointestinal tract.
Stephan loves his grandparents and their friends. If he specializes in geriatrics, he will be able to treat older adults for geriatric conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s diseases, falls and incontinence.
Gynecologist are doctors who specialize in women’s health and medicine. Gynocologist treats any disorder associated with reproductive system. An obstetrician delivers babies.
A hermatogist deals with disorders associated with the blood, lymph nodes and spleen. Their job is to perform special types of transfusions for analysis. An oncologist specializes in diagnosis and treatment of tumors and cancer.
Infectious Disease Specialist
Stephen has a germ phobia and would love to help rid people of viral infections and infectious disorders. If he becomes an infectious disease specialist, he will be able to diagnose and treat infections caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, parasites and unknown origins.
Stephen does not know if he has the hands to be a surgeon. If he becomes an internist, he will diagnose and treat all non-surgical diseases. Most internist treat adolescents and adults and have to train in emergency medicine, geriatrics, hospital medicine and critical care medicine.
If Stephen wants to diagnose and treat kidney and urinary tract diseases, he will become a nephrologist.
Stephen is fascinated by learning how the brain work. The brain, nerves and spinal cord make up the nervous system. If he becomes a neurologist, he will diagnose, treat and manage nervous system disorders and injuries.
Eyes are the window to the soul, and ophthalmologist solve eye problems.
An orthopedist helps correct, preserve and prevent skeletal deformities.
An otolaryngologist is an ears, nose and throat doctor. If Stephen becomes an otolaryngologist, he will diagnose and treat ear infections, hearing loss, earaches, sinus infections, nosebleeds and middle ear cysts.
Pain Management Specialist
Chronic pain is treated by a pain management specialist.
Stephen loves kids. If he becomes a pediatrician, he will specialize in pediatrics.
A podiatrist’s job is to diagnose and treat foot disorders such as ingrown toenails, hammertoe, corns, bunions, foot numbness and ankle sprains.
A psychiatrist specializes in diagnosing and treating mental, emotional and behavioral disorders such as dipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia.
A psychology specializes in the study and treatment of behavior.
A pulmonologist deals with disorders associated with the lungs and chest. Stephen will have to treat pneumonia, asthma, acute respiratory distress and SARS.
A radiologist uses x-rays, MRI, CT scans, mammograms and sonograms to diagnose diseases. Radiologists also perform biopsies and angiograms.
Stephen hears about all his grandmother aches and pains. If he becomes a rheumatologist, he will hear those complaints from all of his patients. A rheumatologist specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of muscles, joints, bones, tendons and connective tissue.
If Stephen specializes in urology, he will deal with disorders associated with the urinary tract, ureters, kidneys, bladder, adrenal glands, and the prostate. Most of his patients will be male.