Family medicine encompasses the total health care of individuals and families over time. Physicians involved in family medicine subspecialties are trained to diagnose and treat people of all ages and of various conditions. This includes acute illnesses, chronic ailments, lifestyle counseling, mental health care, primary care, and preventive services.
Family physicians attend three years of residency to acquire cognitive and procedural skills to master their role. Their rotations include emergency medicine, geriatrics, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology, and surgery, among others. To specialize, they also need additional training and assessments certified by the board.
Let’s talk about some of the family medicine subspecialties you can explore.
5 Family Medicine Subspecialties (and What They Mean)
1. Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine
This subspecialty focuses on the health problems and medical needs of people from ages 10 to 24 years. The specialists are equipped to address the unique emotional, medical, physical, psychological, and social needs of youngsters.
Physicians in this field focus on topics like:
- Eating disorders
- Evolving pressures (at home, in school, or with friends)
- Reproductive health
- Sexual identity
- Youth-friendly health services and spaces
2. Geriatric Medicine
Geriatric doctors, often called geriatricians, cater to patients aged 65 years and above. They undergo one to two extra years of training related to elders, to understand the aging process and how older bodies respond differently to treatments.
They often work with a medical team (caregivers, family members, nurses, social workers, therapists) in the patient’s home, office, nursing home, or community.
This family medicine subspecialty helps with concerns like:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Cognitive problems
- Mobility and frailty
- Rehabilitation and health maintenance
3. Hospice and Palliative Medicine
This specialization aims to prevent, relieve, and manage the experiences of patients with life-limiting illnesses.
Hospice care is for patients (and their families) who, after numerous medical assessments, have six months or less left to live. Palliative care, on the other hand, alleviate symptoms to help patients live a quality life during their illness. Both fields aim to improve the lives and address the holistic needs of patients and their families.
This family medicine subspecialty focuses on:
- Emotional support
- Cultural support
- Grief counseling
- Psychological support
- Symptom and pain management
4. Sleep Medicine
Minor disturbances during sleep, like insomnia or wake-sleep cycle, can lead to serious health risks – like anxiety and depression, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Sleep medicine specialists can diagnose, treat, and manage conditions related to sleep disorders.
Physicians in this family media specialty address:
- Restless leg syndrome
- Sleep apnea
- Problems falling or staying asleep
5. Sports Medicine
Sports medicine specialists are experts in preventing, diagnosing, and treating injuries and health concerns related to sports, exercise, and physical performance. These physicians work with a lot of other individual medical professionals – like athletic trainers, internists, pediatricians, surgeons, and therapists.
Specialists in this field can address:
- Ankle sprains
- Exercise-induced asthma
- Knee and shoulder injuries
Family medicine subspecialties are great options if you’re looking for a flexible yet truly rewarding field. These teach you a range of medical knowledge and skills and allows you to work with professionals from different fields. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to make a difference in the life of people from all ages and walks of life, while making an impact on a primary level.