What Is a Family Doctor?

Does a Family Doc Care For Your Asthma?

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Family doctors or Family docs are one kind of primary care physician that can diagnose asthma or help get your asthma symptoms under control.

What Is A Family Doc?

Family doctors like Internal Medicine/ Pediatric docs provide care across the lifespan from birth to death. While some family doctors tend to specialize in more narrow aspects of care, most family docs provide comprehensive care for all your health care needs.

This not only includes asthma care, treatment for other respiratory diseases like COPD, but also most care you would need in the primary care setting. 
 Family doctors complete a three year residency in family practice approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and must meet requirements of the American Board of Family Medicine, and pass an exam to become board certified.

What Diseases Does A Family Doctor Treat?

The conditions and problems a family doctor treats are all across the disease map. Your family doc most likely treats many of the following diseases:

What Are The Advantages Of Being Treated By A Family Doctor?

Your family doc will coordinate all of your healthcare and that will hopefully lead to improved asthma control. There area number of benefits of having a family doctor for your primary care including:

  • One doctor for your (or your child’s) asthma that also addresses all your healthcare needs.
  • Consulting a pulmonary specialist and making sure that recommendations fit within your wants and needs.
  • Providing screening and treatment for other medical conditions as appropriate.

Will I Need A Pulmonary Specialist?

Most family docs will be able to treat most patients with asthma.

However, you may need a referral to an asthma specialist like an allergist or pulmonologist at some point. Referral is appropriate if you or your child:

If you feel that you need or you just want to see a specialist, make sure to raise the issue with your family doctor. Patients are not always referred, even when it might be appropriate. Your doctor may just need a suggestion and is unlikely to deny a referral if you give them a good reason why. Do not be afraid to ask if you think it is needed.

Do Specialist Provide Better Care Than Family Docs?

The answer depends on who you ask and what research the doctor you ask has reviewed.

Some research evidence demonstrates that there are small but measurable differences in the care received from asthma specialists compared to primary care doctors while other research fails to show a difference.

If you fall into any of the previously mentioned high risk categories, you should at least raise the issue of a referral with your family doctor.

Can A Family Doctor Treat My Child?

While pediatrics is not a large part of training in a family medicine training program compared to a pediatrician, most family docs will be comfortable treating your child’s asthma.


Alford G. When Do You Need an Asthma Specialist? Asthma Magazine. Volume 8. July-August 2003.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: August 28, 2015. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

The American Board of Family Medicine. What Is Family Medicine?. August 28, 2015.

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