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Internal Medicine Specialist Doctor

Internal Medicine Specialist Doctor

There are various disorders and diseases that occur in our internal organs, which require proper handling from an internal medicine specialist. These specialist doctors are also known as internists. An internist must master the field of internal medicine, a branch of medicine that deals with adults, the elderly and their non-surgical ailments to various complaints and symptoms of diseases within the human body.

Due to the complexity of human internal organs, internists must complete an education in internal medicine for at least nine semesters or 4.5 years.

Sub-specialties in Internal Medicine

There are numerous sub-specialties in internal medicine. Internal medicine sub-specialists (consultants) have a more comprehensive understanding of their scientific fields, such as:

  • Allergy-Clinical Immunology
    This sub-specialist doctor is able to handle all problems related to allergies and immune disorders. Some of the diseases that are often handled by these specialists are asthma, allergic rhinitis, urticaria or hives, anaphylactic reactions, lung immunological diseases, and organ transplant reactions (graft versus host response).
  • Nephrology; Kidney-Hypertension
    This sub-specialist doctor specialises in internal organs related to kidneys, high blood pressure, and fluid and mineral imbalances in the body. Some of the diseases commonly handled by nephrologists are kidney failure, diabetic nephropathy, prostate hyperplasia, hypertension, urinary tract infections, and kidney stones.
  • Gastroenterology-Hepatology
    The gastroenterology-hepatology sub-specialist doctor focuses on treating internal organ problems around the digestive system, such as the stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas and gall bladder. Diseases that are commonly handled include hepatitis, liver failure, gastritis, hernia, malabsorption, food intolerance, cirrhosis, inflammation of the ducts and gall bladder, colitis, constipation, and gastrointestinal cancer.
  • Geriatrics
    Complaints and health problems related to elderly patients require treatment from a geriatric sub-specialist doctor. Cases usually handled are immobility, urinary incontinence, sleep disorders, dementia, geriatric syndrome, malnutrition, delirium, sexual dysfunction, heart failure, hypertension, Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and various other diseases that are commonly experienced by the elderly.
  • Hematology – Medical Oncology
    Various health problems related to blood, spleen and varying types of cancer require special treatment from a hematologist-oncologist consultant. This sub-specialist doctor usually handles disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, hemophilia, bone marrow disorders, leukemia, or melanoma.
  • Cardiovascular 
    Health issues related to the heart and blood vessels need to be handled specifically. Consultant doctors who specialise in cardiovascular disease are those who understand the ins and outs of the heart and blood vessels in adults. Common diseases include heart disease, cardiogenic shock, myocarditis, angina pectoris, hypertension, heart valve disease, congenital heart disease, and cardiac tumors.
  • Endocrine-Metabolic-Diabetes
    This internist doctor handles various health problems related to the endocrine system (glands) and metabolic disorders. Commonly-treated diseases include hypothalamic and pituitary disorders, hormone disorders, thyroid disorders, adrenal gland disease, and obesity.
  • Pulmonology
    Health problems related to the respiratory system are handled intensively by pulmonology internists. Diseases that are often handled include pulmonary tuberculosis, pneumonia, lung cancer, bronchitis, pulmonary embolism, and respiratory failure.
  • Rheumatology
    This sub-specialty focuses on treating internal organs related to joints, muscles, bones and connective tissues such as tendons. Commonly-treated diseases by this doctor are joint trauma, arthritis, rheumatoid disease, lupus, rheumatic fever, and osteomyelitis.
  • Psychosomatic
    The human mind and body are connected, including in the aspect of triggering disease. This condition is called psychosomatic disorder, when the mind affects the body and causes illnesses or worsens conditions. Psychosomatic specialists are able to treat psychosomatic disorders such as anxiety disorders, panic disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorders, tension headaches, erectile dysfunction and psychogenic sexual dysfunction, as well as pain or impaired body function related to psychological disorders.
  • Tropical-Infectious Diseases
    This sub-specialist doctor handles various problems related to infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Commonly treated diseases include dengue hemorrhagic fever, chikungunya, rubella, toxoplasmosis, rabies, malaria, systemic fungal infections, anthrax, tetanus, or food poisoning due to infection.

Diseases Treated by Internists

As the name implies, doctors who specialise in internal medicine treat various diseases that occur in multiple tissues or organs in the body.

Some of the commonly-treated diseases by internist doctors include:

  • Asthma
  • Kidney stones
  • Bronchitis
  • Dementia
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Heart failure
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s
  • Tuberculosis

Medical Procedures Performed by Internists

Some of the medical procedures that an internist doctor can perform include:

  • Conduct an evaluation of the patient’s condition, tracing medical history to physical examination.
  • Provide a diagnosis of disease.
  • Provide education and preventive health services such as administering adult vaccines.
  • Perform physical examinations, blood tests, EKG, lung function tests, body fluid analysis, X-rays, ultrasound, and CT scans.
  • Provide treatment according to the patient’s diagnosis and condition.
  • Provide treatment in critical situations and medical emergencies.
  • Work with nutritionists to regulate nutritional intake, especially for certain diseases such as diabetes mellitus, malnutrition, obesity, and chronic kidney disease.

When to See an Internist?

Before consulting an internist, the patient will be examined by a general practitioner first to check for any symptoms experienced. Furthermore, internists can also refer patients to other specialist doctors if the condition requires more intensive specialised treatment.

You are advised to see an internist immediately if you experience the following conditions:

  • Having complaints or symptoms that affect the body’s systems and organs.
  • Experiencing broad and complex symptoms.
  • Requiring long term comprehensive care.
  • Requiring preventive treatment against certain diseases.

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