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What an Internist Does & When You Need One?

Internal medicine is a medical specialty that includes diagnosing, preventing, managing, and treating diseases in adults. Physicians who study and practice internal medicine are known as internists. They care for patients 18 years and above, throughout their life. So, if you qualify as their patient, look for internist near me – Riverview Michigan to get connected.

Internal medicine encompasses comprehensive healthcare strategies. It belongs to primary healthcare services and aims for good health and wellbeing. One of the primary focuses of internal medicine is prevention. There are certain diseases that exist in the family history or may occur due to our environment. They are known as hereditary or acquired diseases. Humans are susceptible to developing such diseases due to their family history or current lifestyle practices. As its preventive approach, internal medicine keeps an eye on the rising symptoms and helps a patient avoid the onset of such diseases. Therefore, the scope of internal medicine includes the treatment of an acute condition, chronic disease management, and prevention


A physician who practices internal medicine is known as an internist. After completing medical school, physicians take internal medicine as their medical specialization. It includes a three-year residency program which is followed by clinical practice. Moreover, some internists may also choose fellowship training in organ systems such as pulmonology, oncology, or cardiology. As a result, they broaden their skill in diseases related to such organs.

Internal medicine practice includes both inpatient and outpatient care. Internists treat and manage critically ill patients that are hospitalized in intensive and critical care units. Such clinical exposure polishes their resilience and decision-making skills and renders them more capable of treating complex conditions. Internal medicine care is not limited to gender, organs, or organ system. You may see an internist for something as common as cold or chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension. They offer both short-term and long-term care and maintain a lifelong relationship with their patient.

How Is an Internal Medicine Doctor Different from Others?

There are different kinds of primary care providers, each of which has a distinct approach or patient demographics. While pediatrician cares for children, an OB-GYN tend for women, and geriatrics looks after the elderly. Additionally, there are family medicine practitioners who care for all age groups and gender.

Internists and family medicine are more similar to the other three types of primary care. However, the two medical specialties differ in:


While family medicine deals with patients of all age groups, essentially a family, internal medicine looks specifically after adults. Its patient demographics include adults of 18 years or above.


Internists offer a much more extensive treatment approach as compared to a family medicine practitioner. Their expertise lies in diagnosing, managing, and treating various diseases irrespective of their stage or complexity. Family medicine is more inclined towards general care and prevention.


Internists and family physicians take up three-year residency programs in internal medicine and family medicine respectively.


Internists practice in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as in critically ill hospitalized patients. On the other hand, family medicine practitioners practice in outpatient medical facilities

What Are Some Conditions That Internal Medicine Doctors Treat?

Internists follow a comprehensive treatment strategy for their patients. Be it diagnosis, acute care, or chronic care – they ensure that they consider each and every aspect of the patient’s health. Following are the conditions that are well treated by internists:


Be it sinusitis, pharyngitis, or skin allergies – an internist can diagnose and manage common allergic outcomes. Their diagnosis strategies include rhinoscopy to evaluate the nose, throat, and airways.

Cardiovascular diseases:

The heart is a complex organ and so are the conditions associated with it. Internists who have studied cardiology as a per of their additional fellowship training are more capable of offering cardiac care. Their expertise includes the management of acute decompensated heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, cardiogenic shock, and myopericardial diseases.

An internist may work alone, may coordinate with a specialist cardiologist, or refer to one, depending on the prognosis.

Pulmonary Conditions:

Pulmonology is a subspecialty of internal medicine that renders internists experts in treating respiratory diseases. They manage pulmonary conditions related to the lungs, airways, thoracic cavity, and chest wall. In case of acute respiratory infection, they prescribe antibacterial or antifungal drugs.

For chronic pulmonary conditions such as asthma, COPD, and bronchitis, they opt for holistic treatments to improve their quality of life. Internists also employ Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) to evaluate the patient’s respiratory health and modify their methods accordingly.

Orthopedic Conditions:

Fracture, osteoporosis, and osteoarthritis are some common orthopedic conditions that internists come across. They may ask for an X-ray, or MRI for screening purposes. Internists may also prescribe a medication course as treatment and schedule a follow-up session.

Endocrine, glandular, and metabolic disorders:

The most common endocrine disorder includes diabetes, which is mostly treated by an internist. In addition, internal medicine also offers care for hyper and hypothyroidism as well as Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). To treat diabetes, internists prescribe insulin, single, or a combination of hyperglycemic drugs. These medications aim to increase insulin production, and its efficiency, or slow down the absorption of glucose from the GIT.

Gastrointestinal-related disorders:

GI disorders are very commonly presented in internal medicines. Conditions like diarrhea, constipation, peptic/duodenal/gastric ulcers, and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) are treated by internists on a routine basis.

Gender-specific disorders:

Unlike OB-GYN, internists care for patients regardless of their gender. Therefore, they diagnose, treat, and manage benign prostatic hyperplasia, erectile dysfunction, and reproductive disorders in women.

Renal disorders:

Renal disorders include urinary tract infections, urinary inconsistency, kidney stones, and renal failure. These are well-managed by internists through medications and lifestyle amendments.

Physiological disorders:

Internists may work together with a psychologist to manage anxiety, depression, insomnia, and other common physiological concerns. Their treatment strategy includes medications, therapies, and lifestyle practices.

Critical care medicine:

Internists are required to train for a year in intensive and critical care units in a hospital. As a result, they’re trained in taking care of critically ill patients. Their expertise includes pulmonary and cardiac assistance to such sick patients.

Chronic Venous Disease (CVD) management:

CVD is a condition in which the veins in the leg are not working properly by resisting blood flow. As a result, the blood may flow back to the heart. Internists offer care to prevent the disease from progressing to further stages.

Wound care management:

Internists offer wound care management to wounds that do not start to heal by 2 weeks and fail to completely heal by 6 weeks.

Why Do You Need an Internist?

You may choose to go to an internist for prevention, treatment, or for general health assessment. Regular visits to an internal medicine physician offer the following benefits:

Reduced hospital visits:

People visit hospitals for urgent care in most non-life-threatening emergencies. However, a short trip to internists for similar care may save both time and money. In addition, with routine visits, you’re more able to take control of your health and avoid hospitalization in the future.

Better continuity of care:

You should book an appointment at a lung and sleep disorder center to ensure good health. A regular visit lets your internist monitor your current health variables, and medical and family history to prevent chronic diseases. People need to visit physicians not only to treat various diseases but also to prevent their onset in the future.

ALSO READ: First Aid: An Essential Part of Our Everyday Lives


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