An MD (Medical Doctor) is a qualified physician who is licensed and has graduated from a recognized medical school. Doctors are often classified into different categories depending on their training and what they specialize in. There are more than 130 medical specialties and subspecialties.
An allopathic physician is an MD whose responsibilities relate to health maintenance, including prevention and acute care. Allopathic medicine, also called Western, mainstream, conventional, or biomedicine medicine, focuses on diagnosing and treating human diseases. Learn more about internal medicine physicians and how they are different from family medicine physicians.
What Does Doctor of Internal Medicine Mean?
Also known as internists, internal medicine doctors specialize in diagnosing and treating adult patients. They also specialize in the prevention of internal chronic diseases. Simply put, an internal medicine doctor is a gatekeeper who keeps a close eye on both children and adult patients’ body systems and helps manage chronic health conditions.
For one to become an internist, an MD must complete a three-year internal medicine residency. During this period, one has to choose which illness or part of the body they wish to subspecialize, for example, infectious diseases or cardiology. The vast knowledge they acquire in a certain field enables them to offer focused health care to their patients. They still have to consult with specialists in other areas of medicine from time to time.
These physicians are well trained in diagnosing complex medical problems and applying their clinical expertise and scientific knowledge to treat their patients. Internal medical specialists often see patients who suffer from health conditions such as obesity, hypertension, chronic lung, and heart disease. General internists see their adult patients in an outpatient setting but follow their patients if they get hospitalized. These physicians can also be called upon for consultation by other doctors to offer their expert services in a particular health field.
Difference Between Family Practice and Internal Medicine
There are so many similarities when it comes to internal medicine and family practice. Both these physicians are primary care physicians who provide annual exams and treat a variety of illnesses. The main difference between internal medicine and family practice is that the former physicians only treat adults. On the other hand, family medicine covers a broader patient population, including babies, children, adolescents, and adults. Family practice doctors/family physicians manage the well-being of patients, including children, and their overall health by providing the family with services like pediatric care, gynecological care, and other disease treatment.
Internal medicine doctors undergo intense training in internal medicine subspecialties, including infectious diseases, neurology, rheumatology, and endocrinology. Chronic diseases often present themselves as people get older. That is why many patients who require health care tend to be in the geriatric population. Internal medicine doctors focus more on the “inner” diseases while family physicians deal with the external manifestation of those chronic illnesses.
What Procedures Do Internal Medicine Doctors Do?
Doctors of internal medicine are sometimes referred to as doctor’s doctors since they offer consultation to other doctors to help solve complex medical issues. Before becoming an internist, an MD first has to complete his basic internal medicine training, after which he is referred to as a general internist. General internal medicine doctors are qualified to handle a comprehensive and broad spectrum of illnesses that affect adults. At this stage in medical school, a general internist has not yet chosen a subspecialty he wishes to pursue further and is not limited to one type of organ system or medical problem.
To become an internal medicine doctor, this physician must take additional training (often referred to as a “fellowship”). This medicine doctor has to narrow it down to a more specific area of internal medicine. Normally, the doctor would need to complete a three-year subspecialty residency training, though in some cases, the training can take a year. Internists perform an invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedure such as:
Joint aspiration - Rheumatology
Dialysis, biopsy, kidney – Renal
Bronchoscopy, intubation and ventilator management - Pulmonary
Plasmapheresis, lymph node biopsy, stem cell transplant, bone marrow biopsy - Hematology/oncology
Liver biopsy, endoscopic ultrasound, stent insertion, esophageal manometry, upper and lower endoscopy - Gastroenterology
Bone densitometry, dynamic hormone testing, thyroid biopsy - Endocrinology
Cardioversion, implantable defibrillators, electrophysiology testing and ablation, pacemakers, stent insertion, angioplasty, coronary catheterization, echocardiograms, stress testing - Cardiology
Rhinoscopy, skin testing - Allergy
Benefits of Seeing an Internal Medicine Doctor
Most people often assume general practitioners and internal medicine doctors are the same. For this reason, patients rarely get the specialized care they need when dealing with chronic diseases. There are several benefits why you should see an internist.
Internal medicine physicians are highly trained to focus on a given internal medical problem. This means that this doctor is better equipped to handle complications stemming from an affliction better than a general practitioner.
An internal medical doctor also provides preventative care. Internists do regular screenings, and tests help clients to deal with medical issues before they get worse. For chronic diseases, internists communicate with other doctors to offer the patient the full support they need. You don’t need to be old to start seeing an internal medicine doctor.
When to Visit an Allopathic Doctor
There are several reasons you may be referred to an allopathic doctor. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more people are being advised to visit an outpatient allopathic doctor or hospital, especially when they get a common cold whose symptoms require medical attention. You know it is time to see an allopathic doctor if you:
Have a high fever that is more than 101.3
Are experiencing a serious sore throat, earaches, headaches, and sinus pain
Feeling shortness of breath or wheezing
Having a fever that is lasting for days or keeps coming back
If you are looking for an internal medicine doctor, ensure that he is qualified to offer preventative care and specialized treatment. Our team of medical experts is whom you can trust and are well equipped to diagnose and treat your family. Contact us today to ask questions about the hospital or practice when you need more clarification on family health care. Nowadays you can call the office or email your physician before checking in.