Internal medicine is a broad medical specialty that handles the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases that affect adults. Doctors who specialize in internal medicine are sometimes called internists or physicians. Many work in hospitals treating patients with serious and complicated diseases, while others are often people’s primary care physicians.
Subspecialties of Internal Medicine
There are eleven subspecialties within internal medicine. These are:
• Infectious Diseases
Internists who specialize in allergy/immunology test people for allergies, and they also treat people with immune deficiency disorders. They don’t, however, treat autoimmune disorders like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis – that’s the job of the internists who specialize in rheumatology.
Cardiologists treat people with problems affecting their heart and blood vessels. One of their main concerns is preventing heart attacks and treating people who have survived heart attacks.
Endocrinologists treat people with disorders involving their glands and hormones. They often treat people with thyroid disorders. Patients with diabetes may go to an endocrinologist or to their primary care physician.
Gastroenterologists specialize in disorders of the digestive tract, and hepatologists treat liver problems. Nephrology is the subspecialty concerned with kidney disorders, while pulmonology is concerned with the lungs.
Geriatrics is concerned with diseases that affect the elderly. Most of these patients are at least 80 years old, and many have some kind of dementia.
Hematology/oncology doctors specialize in blood disorders and anemia. While they administer chemotherapy, they are not surgeons. Hematology/oncology doctors often work with teams to treat cancer patients, and those teams can include a surgeon to remove any tumors.
Infectious disease doctors treat severe and chronic infections like HIV that are beyond the scope of a primary care physician. The latter can handle minor or acute infections like strep throat, but they will refer their patient to an infectious disease doctor if they develop something serious.
Like other medical doctors, internists go to medical school, serve a residency, and so forth. Those who want to concentrate on a subspecialty will need to complete a fellowship, which requires two to four more years of training.
What is the Difference Between Internal and Family Medicine?
The chief difference between the two is that internal medicine concentrates on individual adults, while family medicine focuses on the family unit. At Herrera Medical Group, we proudly offer both services. Contact us today to book a consultation at our office in Lewisville, TX and learn more!