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Gathering a health care dream team

How to get specialty care when you need it.

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Your primary care doctor can take care of most medical problems. But there are times when you may need to see a specialist.

What is a specialist?

A specialist is someone who has more training with a specific health problem.

What does a specialist do?

Let’s say you’re having sleep problems. Your doctor may send you to a sleep specialist. Your specialist will dig deeper into why you’re not sleeping well. Sometimes, this can include ordering lab tests or a sleep study to learn more.

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What kind of specialists are there?

There are more than 135 medical specialties. Specialists include:

  • Cardiologist (heart)
  • Dermatologist (skin)
  • Dietitian (help with healthy eating)
  • Endocrinologist (for blood sugar problems)
  • Gynecologist (women’s health)
  • Nephrologist (kidney)
  • Oncologist (cancer)
  • Physical therapy (to ease pain and help you move better)
  • Podiatrist (feet)
  • Pulmonologist (for breathing problems) 
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Your doctor and specialist work as a team

Think of your doctor and your specialist as your health care team. And the team’s goal is your health and well-being. Your doctor will:

  • Find the right specialist for your needs.
  • Help make your appointment with a specialist.
  • Build a care plan with your specialist based on your personal needs.
  • Work closely with your specialist so you get the care you need when you need it.

Remember, getting to the root of a health problem can take time. But your doctor and specialist are there to listen and to help. Don’t hesitate to speak up when you need to.

Need a specialist?

Talk to your primary care doctor.

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The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.