June 30, 2012
The American College of Physicians classifies internists, or, internal medicine doctors, as “physicians who specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults.” Much like your family physician, an internist is a personal physician who is able to manage both common and complex illnesses of adolescents, adults and the elderly. However, they mostly focus on young adults to seniors.
These are typical specialties for internal medicine physicians:
Gastroenterology An Internist (Gastroenterologist) who specializes in diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the digestive organs including the stomach, bowels, liver and gallbladder. This specialist treats conditions such as abdominal pain, ulcers, diarrhea, cancer and jaundice and performs complex diagnostic and therapeutic procedures using endoscopes to visualize internal organs.
Sports Medicine An Internist who specializes in preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries related to participating in sports and/or exercise. In addition to the study of those fields that focus on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and management of injuries, sports medicine also deals with illnesses and diseases that might have effects on health and physical performance.
Geriatric Medicine An Internist who has special knowledge of the aging process and special skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly. This specialist cares for geriatric patients in the patient’s home, the office, long-term care settings such as nursing homes and the hospital.
Hematology An Internal medical physician working as an Hematologist with additional training who specializes in diseases of the blood, spleen and lymph. This specialist treats conditions such as anemia, clotting disorders, sickle cell disease, hemophilia, leukemia and lymphoma.
Infectious Disease An Internist who deals with infectious diseases of all types and in all organ systems. Conditions requiring selective use of antibiotics call for this special skill. This physician often diagnoses and treats AIDS patients and patients with fevers which have not been explained. Infectious disease specialists may also have expertise in preventive medicine and travel medicine.
Interventional Cardiology An area of medicine within the subspecialty of Cardiology, which uses specialized imaging and other diagnostic techniques to evaluate blood flow and pressure in the coronary arteries and chambers of the heart, and uses technical procedures and medications to treat abnormalities that impair the function of the cardiovascular system.
Medical Oncology An Internist (Medical Oncologist) who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of cancer and other benign and malignant tumors. This specialist decides on and administers therapy for these malignancies, as well as consults with surgeons and radiotherapists on other treatments for cancer.
Pulmonary Disease An Internist who treats diseases of the lungs and airways. The pulmonologist diagnoses and treats cancer, pneumonia, pleurisy, asthma, occupational and environmental diseases, bronchitis, sleep disorders, emphysema and other complex disorders of the lungs.
Transplant Hepatology An Internist with special knowledge and the skill required of a Gastroenterologist to care for patients prior to and following hepatic transplantation that spans all phases of liver transplantation. Selection of appropriate recipients requires assessment by a team having experience in evaluating the severity and prognosis of patients with liver disease.
Critical Care Medicine An Internist trained in Critical Care Medicine has expertise in the diagnosis, treatment and support of critically ill and injured patients, particularly trauma victims and patients with multiple organ dysfunction. This physician also coordinates patient care among the primary physician, critical care staff and other specialists.
Rheumatology An Internist (Rheumatologist) who treats diseases of joints, muscle, bones and tendons. This specialist diagnoses and treats arthritis, back pain, muscle strains, common athletic injuries and collagen diseases.
Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism An Internal medicine doctor who concentrates on disorders of the internal (endocrine) glands such as the thyroid and adrenal glands. This specialist also deals with disorders such as diabetes, metabolic and nutritional disorders, obesity, pituitary diseases, and menstrual and sexual problems.