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Regular physical exercise and nutritious eating promote health, prevent chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, and reduce the risk of being overweight or obese. Whether you're a conditioned athlete or a fitness and nutrition neophyte, doctors can make specific diet and exercise recommendations based on your medical history and current physical condition and help you prevent sports-related injury, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties 12.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Sports Medicine Doctors
Family physicians with special training in sports medicine try to improve patients' health and wellness and prevent illness and injury associated with exercise. In medical school, primary-care sports medicine doctors study exercise physiology, nutrition, biomechanics, psychology, physical evaluation and rehabilitative medicine, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties 12. Sports medicine doctors treat sprains, strains and chronic overuse problems such as tendinitis and fractures. If your injury involves the foot or ankle, your doctor may refer you to a sports medicine podiatrist.
Doctors who specialize in orthopedics also treat patients with fitness and nutrition concerns. Orthopedic surgeons care for and operate on people who have problems with the bones, muscles and joints, also referred to as the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons study for at least seven years before they become certified. Some orthopedic surgeons undergo further study in the subspecialty of sports medicine. Orthopedic surgeons with sports medicine training have in-depth knowledge about sports conditioning, training and fitness, athletic performance, nutrition and dietary supplements, and the prevention and management of sports injuries, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties 12.
Bariatric physicians, or bariatricians, are medical doctors or doctors of osteopathic medicine who specialize in helping people lose weight or manage weight-related health conditions. Bariatricians help people with severe weight concerns lose weight by modifying their diet, recommending exercise, suggesting behavior changes and sometimes prescribing medication, according to the American Society of Bariatric Physicians. For people who can't reach a healthy weight through diet and exercise and have a body mass index of 40 or higher, bariatric physicians may recommend bariatric surgery. In bariatric surgery, a surgeon alters the size and shape of the digestive tract to limit the amount of food you eat and digest. The Mayo Clinic warns that this surgery has serious side effects and potential complications, so candidates for surgery undergo careful screening by fitness and nutrition doctors 3.
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