The American College of Physicians define a practitioner of internal medicine as:
“Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness.”
Doctors who practice internal medicine have spent a great deal of their training learning how to prevent, diagnose and treat conditions and diseases. Internists often provide valuable opinions to other doctors through consultations and collaboration. There are also many subspecialties that an internist can practice including:
- Allery and Immunology
- Cardiology (conditions of the heart)
- Endocrinology (conditions involving hormonal disorders
- Hematology (conditions of the blood)
- Infectious diseases
- Gastroenterology (conditions involving the stomach/digestive systems)
- Nephrology (disorders of the kidney)
- Oncology (cancer diagnosis and treatment)
- Primary Care
- Pulmonology (breathing disorders and conditions)
- Rheumatology (Musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia)
Internists place a great emphasis on the overall health and well being of their patients. Prevention is the easiest way to stop many medical conditions in their track, internists are especially effective in helping patients establish and maintain lifestyle choices that will help them prevent conditions that are caused by not practicing proper diet and exercise habits. Internists assist patients in an overall wellbeing for themselves, this guidance covers everything from minor ailments to debilitating chronic conditions and even helping patients recognize and seek help for emotional or mental issues such as substance abuse, depression and many other issues.
Internal medicine doctors are also highly trained to be able to diagnose perplexing medical conditions that other doctors may not recognize right away. General practitioners and specialists often seek the opinion of an internist when they have patients whose symptoms are atypical or perplexing. Since internists are expected to have a wide range of knowledge about the body as a whole, they can often identify characteristics of an illness that another physician may overlook or create a connection between seemingly unrelated symptoms that leads to a proper diagnosis.
Internists must stay on the cutting edge of medicine, therefore internists continually seek furthur education and any recertifications that are necessary to maintain their licenses to practice.