Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Healthcare System

Taking care of your health involves choosing a doctor and understanding how to best get the care you need. This section will help you deal with these issues and provide some fun and shocking facts about the medical field.


Pulmonary medicine specialists study, diagnose, and treat diseases and disorders of the lungs and related passageways. These diseases can include asthma, lung cancer, and tuberculosis. Learn about specialists in the field of pulmonary medicine.

A radiologist is a physician who uses X rays to diagnose and treat disorders. Nuclear medicine specialists use radioactive substances to diagnose and treat diseases. Learn about radiologists and nuclear medicine specialists.

Rheumatologists diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of bones, joints, and muscles. These disorders often are characterized by inflammation or degeneration and include such conditions as arthritis and gout. Learn about what rheumatologists do.

Doctors from various medical fields list themselves as sports medicine practitioners. Sports medicine has made great contributions to the general public by producing evidence of the benefits of exercise. Learn about sports medicine practitioners.

Surgeons use surgical operations to treat disease, injury, or deformity by going into the human body by way of incisions through the skin and muscles. Learn about what surgeons do.

Urologists specialize in the study, diagnosis, and medical treatment of diseases and disorders of the kidneys, urinary tract, prostate gland, and male sex organs. Learn more about what urologists do.

Gynecologists focus on the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of disorders of the female reproductive system. Obstetricians deal specifically with pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions. Learn about what gynecologists and obstetricians do.

Bariatricians have been making advances in treating a common problem: obesity. A relatively new medical field, bariatrics is popular because of the public’s keen interest in issues of weight loss. Learn about bariatricians.

Endocrinologists diagnose and treat disorders of the endocrine system, including diabetes and growth abnormalities. The endocrine system secretes hormones that send messages throughout the body to direct bodily functions. Learn more about endocrinologists.

Epidemiologists study the outbreak, frequency, distribution, and control of communicable diseases. In addition, epidemiologists deal with the conditions under which certain diseases flourish. Find out more about what epidemiologists do.