Internal medicine focuses on caring for adults through the use of scientific techniques combined with thoughtful care. Doctors practicing internal medicine are called internists and they vary from physicians in that they only specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and management of conditions affecting adults. Internists provide adults with comprehensive care and receive training in endocrinology, rheumatology, infectious diseases, neurology, psychiatry, dermatology, ophthalmology, office gynecology, otorhinolaryngology, non-operative orthopedics, palliative medicine, sleep medicine, geriatrics, and rehabilitation medicine.
Did You Know?
Internal medicine has been responsible for several key medical advancements, including: the development of the polio vaccine, identification of hepatitis C virus, development of statin drugs, and the discovery of H Pylori in relation to peptic ulcer disease. It is the “scientific attitude” that internists posses that allows them to continue to make medical advancements such as these.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the difference between an internist and a family physician?
Although the majority of their patients are adults, family physicians see both children and adults, and their training is aimed at providing care for both children and adults. Internists, on the other hand, see only adults, so their training is aimed solely at providing more comprehensive care for conditions that are only seen in adults. Internists are also able to work in outpatient and inpatient settings, meaning that they are able to co-manage cases were their patient requires specialty care and possible hospitalization. Finally, a notable difference between the two is that internists regularly apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise when diagnosing and treating their patients. However, they do so while maintaining the same compassionate care as general or family physicians.
The training between internists and general, or family, physicians is also different. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree and four years of medical school, general internists also undergo three years of residency specializing in adult conditions. Physicians undergo three years of residency as well, however this has a broader focus and includes surgery, obstetrics, and pediatrics.
Should I see an internist?
If you are an adult in need of medical treatment or routine medical care, then you should see an internist. Internists are specially trained to treat adult conditions and can help you get the care you need. If you are attempting to manage multiple health conditions or short term issues that can affect chronic conditions, then internists are especially beneficial.
Can an internal medicine doctor be used for primary care?
If you are over the age of 18, general internists can be used as your primary care doctor. Their specialized training makes them ideal to act as your primary care doctor, however they do not treat children or provide obstetric services. Furthermore, only General Internists can provide primary care services, not internists who have declared a specialty. Come meet our team of internists and find your new primary care provider!
What are internal medicine subspecialities?
Subspecialities are an area of focus that an internal doctor chooses to take additional training in. This additional training ranges from 1-3 years and allows them to take the title of whatever field of speciality they train in. For example, an internal medicine doctor that has a subspeciality in pulmonology can maintain the title of pulmonologist, as they have earned the specialized training behind this title. Only internal medicine doctors who have completed the additional subspeciality training can do this. If they have not completed this specialized training, then they are known as general internists. General internists have partial training in all the areas of speciality, however they do not possess specialized training.
What services do internal medicine doctors provide?
Internal medicine doctors can provide a variety of services to their patients including primary care services such as physicals and immunizations, all the way to specialized services. Internal medicine has eleven different specialities that internists are trained to provide treatment in. These specialities include: pulmonology, endocrinology, cardiology, gastroenterology, hepatology, hematology/oncology, nephrology, rheumatology, allergy/immunology, infectious diseases, and geriatrics. At Overlake Internal Medical Associates, we provide the following services:
- Comprehensive Annual Exam
- Preoperative Physical Exams
- Comprehensive Corporate Exams
- School Exams
- Pap Smears and Gynecologic Exams
- Contraceptive Counseling; and Diaphragm Fitting
- Minor Dermatologic Procedures
- Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitor
- Spirometry (Lung Function Testing)
- Nebulizer Treatment
- Hearing Test Screening
- Bone Density/DEXA Scan
- Bladder Ultrasound for Evaluation of Urinary Retention
- Endometrial Biopsies
What conditions can internal medicine doctors treat?
Internists can treat a wide range of medical conditions including:
- Respiratory disease
- Vascular and heart disease
- Blood issues
- Kidney issues
- Joint and rheumatologic issues
- Digestive issues
- Endocrine and hormone issues
- Urinary issues
- Neurological issues
- Infectious diseases
- Mental health
However, if your condition exceeds the scope of their expertise, they will refer you to a specialist.
Will my insurance cover treatments?
Most insurance companies will cover appointments with an internist, however there may be restrictions in terms of treatment. Make sure to check with your insurance company to learn about these possible restrictions. Overlake Internal Medical Associates also accepts Medicare.