The specialty of internal medicine or internist is one of the most necessary and least known. It is defined as a middle ground between specialists and clinics or family physicians. It is generally performed in hospitals or clinics and intensive care units. As the name suggests, it treats internal organs such as the heart, lungs or digestive system, treating a variety of pathologies. The internal medicine doctor should not be confused with internal medicine doctors, who specialize in a hospital.
What pathologies does the internal medicine doctor treat?
The internal medicine doctor usually treats complex cases and can diagnose conditions that affect several organs at the same time. Internists treat only adult patients, taking care of their comprehensive and comprehensive clinical care.
The cases that are sent to the internist are:
- Diseases that affect several organs, such as lupus or diabetes.
- Rare diseases with complex diagnosis.
- Inflammatory or systemic autoimmune diseases.
- Environmental pathologies.
- Genetic diseases.
- Affected by infectious or tropical diseases.
- Interned in intensive care units with multiple pathologies that require various treatments.
- Heart and respiratory failure, angina pectoris and other cardiovascular problems.
- Deficiencies of the various organs.
- Digestive bleeding.
A very current specialty
According to the Spanish Society of Internal Medicine, these specialists in internal medicine will have an increasing role in hospitals and inpatient centers and also outside the hospital. Is due to increase in life expectancy, which will be reflected in an increase in the number of chronic complex patients.
Actually, almost half of the patients admitted to the internal medicine departments are over 80 years old, with age-specific requirements such as nutrition and fragility that are affected by hospitalization.
Other activities of the internal medicine doctor
Internal medicine doctors are not only concerned with healing, but have a very important role in it training future doctors. In fact, the teaching role of the internist is widely recognized, because, as is well known, doctors begin to train in medical schools, but continue to do so throughout life. On the other hand, interns are researchers by nature.
They also intervene in the chronically ill and community education, integrating multidisciplinary teams of therapeutic education for the prevention and care of certain diseases. They play a prominent role in public health and epidemiology issues because their training enables them to understand the sociocultural environment of patients.
So much so that the most advanced countries recognize in the internist a fundamental pillar of the comprehensive health system.
How to be seen by an internal medicine doctor?
Except in cases of urgency, the internal medicine doctor shall be consulted by referring the family doctor or specialist performing treatment. It can also happen that the consultation is requested by the health insurance company.
In most cases, the internist is consulted almost exclusively in clinics or hospitals.
- The internal medicine doctor works together with other specialists in case of complex and multisystem diagnosticsas you get better prepared to see the whole patient.
- In large hospitals, he treats inpatients intensive care units.
- It can act in case high risk tasks. While the obstetrician takes care of everything related to the health of the future baby and the birth, the internal medicine doctor will deal with diseases or conditions that can affect the pregnant woman. For example, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or gestational hypertension. Also, other chronic diseases suffered by pregnant women, such as arthritis, diabetes, irritable bowel, among others.
- This is where the internist comes in, when it is necessary to evaluate a patient with various conditions.
- Into the small hospitals there is often a professional in internal medicine instead of several specialists, or even a team of interns in the emergency department.
Internal medicine care in Spain
If your GP has referred you to an internal medicine specialist or you need to go to a clinic or hospital, you may be interested to know Doctor of Internal Medicine serves in both the public and private sectors.
Health insurance companies that offer medical records or care in their own clinics usually have almost as many internal medicine doctors like those of other specialties. In addition, the new services offered by most insurers, such as those related to eating disorders, sleep disorders or others, require the participation of interns.
We recommend it read the policy carefully to know the coverage in case of hospitalization. In fact, this service is included in most general medical policies, but hospitalization is not included in the benefits of primary care.
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