There are over 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Therefore, sometimes it can be difficult to determine which one can best suit your health care needs. Often, this confusion centers around the services of an internal medicine physician. While there are some similarities, there are some notable differences between internal medicine and other specialties. Internal medicine physicians differ from General Practitioners (GP). Internal medicine physicians have a MD post their MBBS, While GPs only hold a MBBS degree.
What is internal medicine?
Internal medicine is a science that represents the best of both worlds. The specialty combines the analytical examination of laboratory science with a personalized, compassionate approach to adult medicine. This expertise enables doctors to treat both common illnesses and complex medical conditions. They also specialize in treating long-term chronic illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Doctors who specialize in internal medicine are called internists or general internists. Internal medicine specialists also take a close look at how all the systems in the body work together as a whole because a problem in one area could cause complications in another.
Why is it called internal medicine?
It comes from the German word innere medizin. In the 1800s, German physicians were incorporating knowledge from the sciences of bacteriology (study of bacteria), physiology (study of how the body functions) and pathology (the study of diseases) into their treatment plans. Physicians found the more they understood these subjects, the better equipped they were to help their patients.
They were called internal medicine doctors or internists because they focused on the “inner”” diseases instead of the external manifestations of those diseases.
What is the difference between an internist and an intern?
An internist is a physician who specializes in internal medicine. He or she is licensed and may have board certification.
An intern is a physician who has completed medical school but is still in training.
What type of training is required to be an internal medicine doctor?
In order to become an internist, graduates of medical school must complete a three-year internal medicine residency. After the residency, the physician can practice or choose to specialize further in a subspecialty such as infectious diseases or diabetes.
Do internal medicine physicians do yearly physicals?
Yes! In fact, we offer regular women’s and men’s health screenings. We want to establish long-term relationships with our patients so we can help them on their journey of wellness and be partners in their care.
Subspecialties of Internal Medicine:
- Cardiovascular Disease (heart and vascular system)
- Adult Congenital Heart Disease
- Cardiac Electrophysiology
- Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology
- Interventional Cardiology
- Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism (diabetes and other glandular and metabolic disorders)
- Gastroenterology (gastrointestinal system, liver, and gall bladder)
- Hematology (blood)
- Infectious Disease (bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections)
- Nephrology (kidneys)
- Oncology (cancer)
- Pulmonary Disease (lungs and respiratory system)
- Rheumatology (joints and musculoskeletal system)
Subspecialties in conjunction with other specialty boards:
- Adolescent Medicine (care of adolescents and young adults)
- Allergy and Immunology (immune system)
- Critical Care Medicine (care of patients in intensive care settings)
- Geriatric Medicine (care of older patients)
- Hospice and Palliative Medicine (care of patients with serious illness)
- Neurocritical Care (serious diseases of the nervous system)
- Sleep Medicine (sleep disturbances and disorders)
- Sports Medicine (sports and exercise)