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What does an Internal Medicine Doctor Do?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

An internal medicine doctor specializes in diagnosing and treating various diseases, chronic conditions, and complex illnesses that affect adults. They are the puzzle-solvers of the medical field, working to find answers for patients who may have multiple overlapping conditions that stump others in the medical world.

According to the American College of Physicians, training to become an internist includes four years of medical school and a three-year residency within the internal medicine field. Some internists (not to be confused with interns) choose to subspecialize in one or more aspects of internal medicine, such as cardiology, which requires a fellowship of two to three years. 


Family Doctor vs. Internal Medicine Doctor

By applying clinical expertise and scientific knowledge, an internal medicine doctor provides compassionate care to adults with chronic illnesses and complex health conditions. They also treat day-to-day health concerns while providing education in disease prevention and promoting overall health consciousness.

An internist diagnoses and treats patients for a wide variety of ailments. They may sometimes see children but are primarily concerned with adult patients. A family doctor, or general practitioner, sees patients in all age ranges.

Some internal medicine doctors take additional training, called fellowships, in specific areas, including:

  • Geriatrics

  • Cardiology

  • Rheumatology

  • Psychiatry

  • Oncology

  • Endocrinology

  • Dermatology

  • Gastroenterology

  • Hematology

  • Infectious disease

  • Immunology

  • Pulmonary disease

Family doctors receive a wide variety of specialized training during their three-year residency program. The list is long but includes instruction in these areas and more:

  • Pediatric medicine

  • Emergency medicine

  • Obstetrics and gynecology

  • Psychiatry

  • Radiology

Family doctors may care for a patient from before birth through adulthood. 

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Seeing an Internal Medicine Doctor

Most internists see patients in an office, but they may also visit their patients in a hospital. Some only care for hospitalized patients. One of the primary concerns of an internal medicine doctor is preventative medicine, including education, screening, nutritional counseling, and offering vaccinations.

Some common services an internal medicine doctor may offer include:

  • Adult vaccines, including:

  • Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP)

  • Flu

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • Shingles

  • Hepatitis A and B

  • Pneumococcal (pneumonia)

  • Health screenings, including:

  • Colorectal cancer screening

  • Hormone testing

  • Blood pressure monitoring

  • Cholesterol screening

  • Pain management, including:

  • Cortisone injections

  • Trigger point injections to relieve nerve pain

An internal medicine doctor may also perform minor surgical procedures and other in-office care.


Why Choose an Internist as Your Primary Care Physician (PCP)?

An internal medicine doctor makes great sense as your primary care physician. Due to their specialized training and focus on prevention, they monitor and treat many ailments that can be concerning to adults, such as:

  • Vaccination status

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Cholesterol levels

  • Allergies

  • Cancer screenings

  • Arthritis

  • Pain management

  • Nutrition

Through management, an internist may catch subtle signs that a family practitioner might miss. Some of the reasons to seek out an internist as your PCP include:

  • Management of all your health conditions

  • Preventative care and education

  • Routine screenings, physicals, and testing to keep you healthy

  • Chronic disease management

Managing Chronic Illnesses

When you have a chronic condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure, your internist acts as the central hub for your healthcare. When you need services or procedures they don’t offer, they will refer you to another doctor within the system and coordinate your care.

The symptoms may not always be evident when dealing with many chronic illnesses. They may be better some days and worse on others. An internist will assist patients in tracking symptoms, figuring out what helps and what makes things worse. By exploring patterns, they can provide a higher level of care.


Specialties Within Internal Medicine

Internal medicine doctors specialize in many areas. There are instances when a family or primary care physician may refer you to an internist specializing in one area. To achieve certification in these well-defined areas, the internist completes a two to three-year fellowship. Some specialties include:


Geriatrics

As people age, they have increased health concerns. A geriatric medicine specialist can recognize changes and identify areas of concern.

A geriatrician can offer personalized care as you age and will work to maintain your health and functionality as you age. These specialists have a unique understanding of how aging affects the body for both men and women. Treating chronic diseases through the aging process can be a balancing act, but a geriatric specialist is prepared to meet all challenges.


Endocrinology

According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinology, an endocrinologist deals with hormone-related diseases and conditions often associated with aging. Some areas of focus include:

  • Thyroid dysfunction

  • Diabetes and related problems

  • Osteoporosis

  • Menopause

  • Sexual function, including:

  • Low-T 

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Low libido

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Hair loss/restoration/growth therapies

Endocrinologists are also essential team members for research into the problems associated with aging. They participate in research and clinical studies and strive to improve treatment methods for many common issues. 


The Internal Medicine Providers at Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates Can Help You

Regardless of what problems you are currently experiencing, the friendly and knowledgeable staff at Anti-Aging & Regenerative Associates can help. We offer PRP, stem cell therapy, pain management, and more. We’ll conduct a complete physical examination so we can address your concerns and begin working toward better overall health for you.

Our office serves patients from Port Orange, Daytona Beach, Palm Coast, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Brevard County. Contact us to schedule your appointment today.

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