Internal Medicine

One of the initial places people usually go to look for a suitable specialist is their insurance company’s website. Yet, it is very much possible that you’ll end up at the wrong specialist because of less information on different specialties. This can result in incorrect diagnosis, delayed treatment, and wastage of your precious time. Furthermore, this will only have a negative effect on one’s health.

To start off in the correct direction, you should look for a doctor who will correspond to your specific signs and symptoms. There are many types of doctor specialties, however this blog will focus on the sub-specialties that are related to Internal Medicine. You also can find a suitable internal medicine doctor at the Lung and Sleep center.

An internal medicine doctor is a general doctor for adults. They can also be referred to as “general internist, “internist” or “primary care physician”. They are not professional surgeons. They do not supervise or conduct surgeries either. Internist’s job is to listen to patients and evaluate their medical histories. They perform physical exams, curate a diagnosis, and eventually prescribe medicines to treat ailments accordingly. General internists also treat aches and pains, sore throats, colds, allergies, high blood pressure, diabetes, indigestion. They perform annual physical exams and schedule some preventive medical screenings.

Internal Medicine Training

The training of any doctor determines their specialty. After completing the medical degree and acquiring a doctorate degree, doctors are obliged to complete their residency training. That period of residency can last anywhere from two to ten years which essentially depends upon the area of medicine they have chosen for their training. For example, a doctorate graduate can choose pediatrics, obstetrics/GYN and internal medicine for their residency.

After completing the residency, a doctor can further choose any subspecialty to focus on a specific area. To sub-specialize, it is obligatory for a doctor to complete what we term as “fellowship”. This fellowship is an additional training period of two to four years of residency training.

Subspecialties of Internal Medicine

Following are the subspecialties of internal medicine

1. Pulmonology:

Pulmonologists are lung doctors that deal with respiratory disorders. They focus on conditions like asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Interestingly they also hold expertise in sleeping disorders that are related to breathing, with one of their important focuses being a condition known as sleep apnea.

2. Endocrinology:

Endocrinologists are also called hormone and gland doctors. The focus of these doctors is on the diseases that are related to thyroid gland, diabetes mellitus and other hormonal conditions. Diabetes can be perturbing at times because most of the patients see their PCP. However, it is suggestive to consult an endocrinologist for diabetes.

3. Cardiology:

Cardiologists are the doctors of heart and blood vessels. The main area of focus for these doctors is the prevention of heart attacks and treatment of the patients who have a history of heart disorders. They also deal with the patients who are battling with congestive heart failure (CHF). In this disease, the human heart is not able to pump the blood as strongly as it should. As a result, patients with CHF eventually retain fluid in their legs and lungs.

4. Gastroenterology:

Gastroenterologists are doctors of the gut and digestive system. It is often abbreviated as GI doctor. People who are suffering from GERD, chronic or acute diarrhea, indigestion, stomach pain, constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should consult a GI doctor.

5. Hepatology:

Hepatologists are liver doctors. They focus exclusively on liver functioning and liver disorders. GI doctors also deal with patients with hepatic issues. Hepatologists usually see patients who are battling with chronic or severe liver conditions. These conditions include Hepatitis A, B or C and liver failure.

6. Hematology/Oncology:

Hematologists/Oncologists deal with patients who have blood disorders and cancers. Often these two sub-specialties are combined together. Hematologists and oncologists both see patients with blood disorders like anemia and leukemia respectively. Both of these specialists are not surgeons. If a malignant tumor needs to be removed, then this type of doctor will not conduct the surgery. They can only administer drugs for chemotherapy. Most of the people see many other doctors apart from hematologist or oncologist for the treatment of their cancer.

7. Nephrology:

Neurologists are kidney doctors. They deal with the treatment of kidney damage, renal insufficiency and kidney failure. When a patient is suffering from renal insufficiency, they need to go through renal dialysis. It is a process in which electrolytes of the body are controlled via catheters and tubes. Nephrologists are doctors who manage the dialysis. Another type of kidney doctor is known as a urologist. However, urology is not a part of internal medicine. They deal with different types of kidney problems such as kidney stones.

8. Rheumatology:

Rheumatologists are the doctors who treat “Autoimmune diseases”. An autoimmune disorder is when the body’s immune system attacks itself and disintegrates its functioning. Known examples of autoimmune disorders are rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Autoimmune disorders cause inflammation, pain and immobility in the joints. Rheumatologists also treat joint conditions such as gout. Moreover, rheumatologists are not surgeons. They do not deal with such patients that have joint injuries or athletic injuries. Orthopedic surgeons usually deal with such patients.

9. Immunology:

Immunologists conduct tests to detect any sort of allergies. These allergies can be caused by various substances, foods or external agents such as pollen, mold or nuts. Immunologists provide a patient with allergy shots to desensitize a person to these agents. It lowers down the intensity of allergies. Immunologists also deal with immune deficiency conditions.

10. Infectious Diseases:

Doctors of infectious diseases treat acute and chronic infections. They treat diseases ranging from HIV AIDS to bone and skin infections. Furthermore, skin infections are usually treatable and mild. They can be handled well by their primary care physician and an infectious disease doctor is not needed all the time.

11. Geriatrics:

Geriatricians are doctors for the elderly patients. No age bracket is specified to see a geriatrician however usually patients around 80 years of age consult a geriatrician when needed. They treat patients with Alzheimer disease and maintain their quality of life. They coordinate well with the elderly medications, prevention of drug interactions and lowering down its side effects. Geriatricians can make house calls if needed.

Relation of subspecialties of internal medicine and their listings on insurance website

If you are looking for a doctor, the website has mentioned these two specialties.
Internal Medicine and Pulmonology (then it means that the doctor is a pulmonologist and not a general internist)
Internal Medicine and Cardiology ((then it means that the doctor is a cardiologist and not a general internist)

Wrap up

At Lung n sleep center in Michigan, we try to sort out the needs of the patients and help them in understanding if they need to see an internist, a PCP or a specialist. In the search for a correct doctor, usually patients end up wasting a lot of their time which results in their treatment delay.

With Lung n sleep center services, if you have enough knowledge about different subspecialties of internal medicine, then there are higher chances that you will find a good-quality doctor from the beginning.



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