Internal medicine is a branch of medicine pertaining to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and management of diseases affecting adults over the age of 18. Doctors who practice internal medicine are known as “internists” and often serve as a patient’s primary care provider. Internists may work together with other physicians to ensure patients are getting comprehensive care that transcends a specific symptom or health condition.
Internal medicine physicians spend a minimum of three years of their medical school and post-graduate training learning about the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect adults. Not to be confused with “interns,” internist doctors have a comprehensive understanding of the entire body and the systems within it. It is the internist’s job to evaluate all of a patient’s medical concerns and symptoms – not just those pertaining to a specific area of the body or medical specialty.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need to see an internist?
Everyone should have a primary care provider. If you are an adult age 18 or older, consider making an appointment with an internal medicine provider to discuss your current health and long-term wellness goals. If you are healthy, your internist will be your partner in maintaining your health, preventing illness, and screening for disease. If you are sick or experiencing symptoms, your internist will work to minimize your symptoms and restore your overall health.
What types of conditions can I see an internal medicine physician for?
Internists do not treat specific areas of the body but rather, they treat patients as a whole. There are no conditions too simple or complex that are outside the range of an internist’s care. They are equipped and trained to manage chronic diseases, as well as sudden, acute illnesses. The internist understands both physical and mental health and can treat issues often managed by other specialists, such as reproductive, neurological, or dermatological problems. Though patients are sometimes referred to other types of specialists, the internist serves as a first line of defense when issues arise.
What is the benefit of seeing an internist?
It is common for patients to have a different doctor for different diseases or symptoms, but internal medicine physicians are the specialists who put all the pieces of your biological puzzle together. These are care providers who do more than perform check-ups or write prescriptions; they are lifetime providers. They know how to work with surgeons and other specialists to coordinate your care.