Internists are doctors who have completed a residency in internal medicine and are board certified, or board eligible, in internal medicine. The scope of their practice includes the care of adults of all ages for many different medical problems. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. An internist provides preventive care that helps you stay healthy. He or she will ensure you have the physical exams, screenings, and vaccinations that are important for your specific health needs.
Even with healthy habits and the best preventive care, illnesses can still happen, and your internist can address your health concerns with you and establish the appropriate treatment plan. Whether it’s a cold, the flu or a chronic disease, such as diabetes or hypertension, Internists are trained to diagnose and treat a range of the most common adult illnesses.
Internists are equipped to deal with whatever problem a patient brings no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex. They are specially trained to handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time. They are referred to as the “doctor’s doctor,” because they are often called upon to act as consultants to other physicians to help solve puzzling diagnostic problems. Internists also bring to patients an understanding of wellness (disease prevention and the promotion of health), women’s health, substance abuse, mental health, as well as effective treatment of common problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs.
Internists provide primary care to men and women age 18 and up. Healthy people see their internists to maintain their good health. At your scheduled appointments, your doctor will provide advice about preventive measures, such as routine physical exams, screenings and test. But people also get treated by internists when they are sick. A cardiologist cares for your heart, and an ophthalmologist focuses on your eyes, but your internist is concerned with your overall health and well-being. Because your internist cares for the whole person, he or she considers all of your medical needs, concerns, and treatments. Your internist isn’t treating just your arthritis or your asthma: he/she is treating you.