Doctors & therapists
Would you like to know which doctor or therapist treats which conditions? With most symptoms, it is important to consult a specialist because only an expert can offer the best treatment.
Medical specialties and indications
The field of general medicine provides basic care for all patients with physical and psychological health problems, in acute and long-term care as well as in important issues of prevention (screening) and rehabilitation. GPs specialise in giving advice and should be the first medical contact for all health problems.
After making the diagnosis, the GP then refers the patient to a specialist in that field, for instance, an orthopaedic specialist for joint pain or a vascular surgeon for an elective vein operation. Many GPs have also trained for additional qualifications, such as of "Phlebologist" or Dermatologist, for example.
A phlebologist specialises in venous disorders and in particular in recognising and treating vascular disease, particularly venous disease. Among other things, vein specialists treat venous diseases such as varicose veins in the lower limbs or thrombotic disorders.
The lymph specialist examines patients for disorders of the lymphatic system. These are recognisable as severely swollen arms and legs (lymphoedema).
Gynaecologists work in the field of gynaecology and obstetrics. This also includes antenatal screening for pregnant women. During pregnancy the blood volume increases by around 1.5 litres, therefore, mothers-to-be also have an increased risk of contracting a venous disorder. Their veins have to work extra hard to pump the blood from the legs up to the heart. Hormonal changes and weight gain play a further role. One third of all women suffer from varicose veins during pregnancy.
These specialists treat disorders of the skin, the mucous membranes near the skin, the appendages of the skin, and vascular diseases such as varicose veins. They also initiate preventive or rehabilitative measures.
Rheumatic diseases affect your joints and muscles. Rheumatism refers to various painful inflammatory conditions which affect joints, bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and muscles. Rheumatology is primarily concerned with rheumatoid arthritis, which is also known as chronic polyarthritis. Rheumatism is not always easy to diagnose, because it presents with such varied symptoms. 400 conditions have now been classified as rheumatism and all of them are associated with the onset of inflammation of the skeleton and locomotor system.
The GP would refer their patients to a rheumatologist who specialises in this field and they can diagnose and treat the condition.
A diabetologist is usually an endocrinologist who specialises in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. Endocrinologists and diabetologists are medical doctors who investigate and treat disorders of the endocrine system. They treat conditions such as:
- diabetes mellitus thyroid disease
- polycystic ovarian syndrome and reproductive disorders
- adrenal disease
- bone and calcium disorders
- pituitary disease
Surgery is a special discipline within medicine. A surgeon diagnoses and operates on diseases, accident injuries and deformities. A surgeon also performs screening examinations, gives suitable conservative treatment and provides the related aftercare. Independent specialties such as gynaecology, orthopaedics, heart, accident, reconstructive and cosmetic surgery and vascular surgery have developed from the multifaceted field of surgery.
The vascular surgeon treats blocked or distended arteries all over the body as well as chronic venous diseases (e.g. varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis, etc.). Preventive operations are also performed, for instance, to prevent a stroke, the loss of a leg or acute kidney failure caused by blockage of a kidney artery, which ultimately leads to dialysis.
Untreated varicose veins may cause thromboses or a venous leg ulcer. Once the surgeon has made his diagnosis, there are a number of different surgical procedures he can choose from.
Plastic surgery is a sub-specialty of surgery that remodels organs or the body's external silhouette for functional or aesthetic-cosmetic purposes. Cosmetic surgery is, in turn, a sub-specialty of plastic surgery. It includes all procedures that are performed, not because of disease, but to improve or rejuvenate one's external appearance. The field of plastic surgery covers four sub-specialties:
- Cosmetic surgery
- Reconstructive surgery
- Burns surgery
- Hand surgery.
Sports physiotherapists treat patients with sports injuries. Prevention, recognition, treatment and rehabilitation of damage and injury incurred during sports (e.g. joint injuries, ruptured ligaments or inflammation of tendons) all play a role.
Sports physiotherapists also examine what effects movement, lack of physical exercise, training and sports have on healthy or ill people.
Manual and therapeutic techniques are used to diagnose and treat the causes of dysfunction in the spine and the joints of the limbs. Since chirotherapy can easily be confused with chiropractic, patients should find out exactly who is going to treat them before having treatment.
Physical/rehabilitation therapy covers the treatment of all acute and chronic diseases that require rehabilitation as well as outpatient and inpatient hospital treatment. Examples include:
- disorders of the skeletal system and the locomotor apparatus,
- the internal organs,
- the nervous system,
- illnesses in childhood and adolescence that require rehabilitation
- or the results of injuries, e.g. leg amputation.
Specific follow-up care, e.g. after certain operations or a stroke, is essential for restoring the full performance of the cardiovascular system or the affected part of the body, including psychological rehabilitation too.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapist
Lymphoedema is treated with both manual lymphatic drainage and compression treatment.
Manual lymphatic drainage is applied daily during the decongestion phase. Subsequent compression, e.g. with flat knit medical compression garments, prevents the limbs "filling up" again.
Manual lymphatic drainage therapy is an advanced therapy in which the therapist uses a range of specialised and gently rhythmic massage techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. This is done to prevent or eliminate congestion in the lymphatic system (www.mlduk.org.uk/therapy/).