What Does 'Internal Medicine' Mean?

Category: Glossary, Type: Other

The Meaing of Internal Medicine

Internal medicine is a medical specialty dedicated to study, diagnosis and treatment of illnesses typical of an adult.

Internal medicine covers so-called internal illnesses that do not correspond to surgical treatment. Physicians who practice this specialty are recognized as internists or general practitioners, who, once graduated in medicine, must attend a postgraduate course in internal medicine lasting three years to be considered a specialist in this area.

Upon completion of studies in internal medicine, the physician may exercise the role of internist or select to attend another specialties such as cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, dermatology, rheumatology, infectology, immunology, allergology, pulmonology, hematology, oncology, nephrology, endocrinology, geriatrics, between others.

Internal medicine offers a broad view of patient as a whole, as it integrates the various subspecialties. The specialist in this zone is the bedside doctor or family doctor who accompanies the patient throughout life from adolescence to old age. He anticipates surgical treatment, both on an outpatient basis for problems that could compromise his life and during his hospitalization when he needs special care. The internist is usually the physician of entire family group.

In some cases, internal medicine may request a subspecialty evaluation of patient to be supported with diagnostic procedures and treatment of some particular conditions. In this case, the specialist can indicate a treatment that will later be monitored by the treating internist.

The doctor specializing in internal medicine is capable to diagnose and treat infectious diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic problems, blood lipid disorders, respiratory diseases, digestive disorders, between others. Likewise, this specialist is the most indicated to treat patients who receive several drugs simultaneously, moreover to controlling basic diseases, he also needs to monitor the emergence of possible adverse or secondary effects of drugs and even problems arising from the interactions.

Another necessary function of internal medicine is the implementation of preventive and screening programs that let the early diagnosis of diseases, even if they are asymptomatic. For this reason, it is recommended that every adult visit the internist at least once a year for a general evaluation and thus perform physical examinations complemented by basic laboratory and imaging studies so that they are in accordance with sure factors such as the form of work performed by the patient, family and personal history, plus their habits.

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Category: Glossary, Type: Other