Doctors of internal medicine, called internists focus on comprehensive adult medicine. 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. They care for their patients for life, from late teen years through old age. While an internist is often confused with a general or family practitioner there are distinct differences between the two. For instance, an internist devotes three years of education to studying adult medicine, specifically learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults. Internists don't deliver babies, don't treat children, and don't do surgery. We do however have wide-ranging knowledge of complex diseases that affect adults. Internists are specifically trained not only to diagnose and treat disease, but to prevent the initial onset of these diseases by recognizing and controlling risk factors such as elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Internists are trained to diagnose and treat chronic illness and specifically situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time.
An internist can treat you for something as routine as the flu or fatigue or provide in-depth care for diseases such as diabetes, lung or heart disease. Internists often coordinate the many subspecialists the patient might see in the process of treating illness. Internists' patient's like knowing that they have a long-term relationship with a physician who is equipped to deal with whatever the patient brings, no matter how common or rare, or how simple or complex.