Internal MedicineVista, CA
Internal medicine is the medical specialty that deals with preventing, diagnosing, and treating internal diseases. Internal medicine practitioners are known as internists or physicians. Internal medicine is key to every adult patient’s healthcare plan.
Internal medicine is available at A Personal Physician in Vista and the surrounding area. We dedicate ourselves to upholding your well-being. Call us today at (760) 940-7000 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services. Contact us for next appointment.
Understanding Internal Medicine
According to MedicineNet, internal medicine is the medical specialty dedicated to diagnosing and treating adult patients. Though there are several subspecialties of internal medicine, general internists are not limited to a single medical problem or organ system. Instead, they focus on handling a comprehensive spectrum of illnesses. They may diagnose and treat chronic and acute health conditions (sometimes several at once), promote patient health, and help prevent disease.
As such, general internists may be considered primary care physicians who cater specifically to adults. They are uniquely qualified to handle all health conditions an adult patient may have throughout their life, no matter how complex. Like all other primary care physicians, general internists act as patients’ first point of entry into the healthcare system. Both ambulatory (or outpatient) and hospitalized patients will need this type of care.
Who Internists Are
Internists, also known as internal medicine physicians, specialize in applying scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to diagnosing and treating adult patients for a broad spectrum of health conditions. They have received specialized training in diagnosing complicated medical issues, caring for chronic illnesses, and addressing multiple health conditions in one patient. They should not be confused with interns, who are doctors completing their first year of medical training, or family medicine practitioners, who do not focus exclusively on adults.
Internists must complete four years of medical school and a residency in internal medicine. This residency usually lasts three years, adding up to seven years of training and education. Once the physician has completed their general internal medicine residency, they may either begin to practice or choose a subspecialty. Most internists care for their patients in outpatient (or office) settings. Others may only provide care in hospitals. These internists are aptly named hospitalists.
The Difference Between Internal Medicine and Family Medicine
As mentioned earlier, patients should not assume that internal medicine is the same as family medicine. The difference does not just lie in the fact that internists focus exclusively on adults while family medicine physicians treat patients of all ages. Training is also a critical distinguishing factor. While both internists and family physicians must undergo three years of basic training, internal medicine training involves training on common health conditions and significant experience in each subspecialty of internal medicine.
To best contribute to adult patients’ comprehensive care, internist trainees must gain adequate experience in dermatology, geriatrics, non-operative orthopedics, office gynecology, ophthalmology, otorhinolaryngology, palliative medicine, psychiatry, rehabilitation medicine, and sleep medicine. Some internists may also choose to include children in their scope of care. In such cases, they may undergo dual training in internal medicine and pediatrics. These physicians are commonly referred to as “med-peds.” In comparison, family medicine structures itself around health conditions that may affect a family unit.
Subspecialties of Internal Medicine
Many internists also choose to complete additional training to practice a subspecialty. This training often comes in the form of a fellowship lasting an additional one to three years. Internists must complete such fellowships separately from their general three-year internal medicine residency. Though these internists are often referred to by their subspecialty focus (such as immunologists or cardiologists), they all share the same basic training.
Internists who choose a subspecialty undergo a comprehensive and involved education in their particular focus. Some examples of internal medicine subspecialties involve (1) allergy and immunology, (2) cardiovascular disease, (3) endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism, (4) gastroenterology, (5) hematology, (6) infectious disease, (7) nephrology, (8) oncology, (9) pulmonary diseases, and (10) rheumatology.
Call Us Today
Internal medicine is essential for every adult patient’s well-being. We at A Personal Physician can help. Call us today at (76) 940-7000 to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our services. Contact us for next appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called “internal medicine”?
Before the advent of internal medicine, healthcare was primarily observation-based. As the fields of bacteriology, pathology, and physiology began to emerge in the late 1800s, healthcare professionals began to better understand the disease and clinical care. These healthcare professionals then dedicated themselves to utilize this new scientific knowledge to treat “inner diseases.” As such, this specialty came to be known as “internal medicine.”
How often should I go in for a physical exam?
Regular physical exams are a critical component of health maintenance, even if you are well. Some patients need more frequent doctor’s visits than others. In general, however, all patients should come in for a physical exam at least once a year. Dr. Brar can analyze your personal risk factors and determine if you would benefit from more frequent treatment.
Do I need to stick with the same internal medicine doctor?
Sticking with a single internist has been linked to better health outcomes and overall healthcare access. Establishing a lasting relationship with one internist can help ensure that your doctor best understands your medical needs and vulnerabilities. As a result, you will receive higher-quality comprehensive care.
What does it mean that internal medicine is “evidence-based”?
Internal medicine is continually evolving with the most current recommendations and research. Medical research is always discovering new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat illnesses. Internists apply this information accordingly, so patients get the best quality of care.
When should I see an internist?
You should see an internist whenever you have any health concerns or it is time for you to keep up with your preventive care. In addition to treating a broad spectrum of acute and chronic health conditions, internists can also assist in medication renewals, identifying the causes of unexplained weight loss or gain, sleeping issues, and more.
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