Doctors of internal medicine, or internists, are medical specialists who have had special study and training in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases in adults, except for women’s reproductive issues. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are focused on diseases that affect adults. While the name "internal medicine" may lead one to believe that internists only treat "internal" problems, this is not the case. Doctors of internal medicine treat the whole person, not just internal organs. Internists are specially trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems, handle severe chronic illnesses and treat patients with multiple illnesses or conditions.
Although doctors of internal medicine may also be referred to as "internists" or "general internists,” they are not to be confused with "medical interns," who are doctors in their first year of residency training. Even though internists may act as primary care physicians, they are not "family physicians," "family practitioners," or "general practitioners," who are trained to treat adults and children.
Some internal medicine physicians receive additional training in a subspecialty. The following are subspecialties recognized by the American Board of Internal Medicine:
- Cardiology, dealing with disorders of the heart and blood vessels
- Endocrinology, dealing with disorders of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones
- Gastroenterology, concerned with the field of digestive diseases
- Hematology, concerned with blood, the blood-forming organs and its disorders
- Infectious disease, concerned with disease caused by a biological agent such as a virus, bacterium or parasite
- Medical oncology, dealing with the study and treatment of cancer
- Nephrology, dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the kidney
- Neurology, dealing with the study of the function and diseases of the brain
- Pulmonology, dealing with diseases of the lungs and the respiratory tract
- Rheumatology, devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of problems involving the muscles and/or joints
DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital has a representative of each internal medicine subspecialty on its staff, giving the hospital the ability to handle nearly any type of medical condition.
For referral to a DMC Sinai-Grace internist, call 313-966-4800.