Many adults with suspected or known health conditions see an internal medicine specialist instead of a primary care physician or in conjunction with a primary care doctor. Often this is a short-term arrangement for acute conditions, but it can be a more long term option for chronic health issues.
The internist is a specialized doctor working just with adult patients. He or she will treat a wide range of conditions from depression through to specific issues a patient may experience with aging.
Often the internal medicine specialist is called in when the primary care physician is unable to diagnose or treat a condition. In this way, the internist becomes the consultant to the overall treatment for the patient, providing a holistic approach to patient care.
Common issues treated by an internist include:
- Cold and flu – a cold should be short-lived as should the flu. When patients seem to have chronic colds and flu issues, the internist can help to determine if there are problems in the immune system or the body that are making the patient more likely to develop these health conditions.
- Infections – ear, nose, and throat infections are also a sign of a weakened immune system. An internal medicine specialist will provide the necessary tests to determine if these issues are a result of a more significant health issue.
- Diabetes – pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes can often be controlled by diet and changes in lifestyle. The internist can provide specific treatment plans to help control these health issues with changes in diet and lifestyle or through the use of medications. Controlling these conditions will prevent the damage that diabetes can cause to other systems in the body.
- High cholesterol and blood pressure – high cholesterol and blood pressure can be linked to cardiovascular disease and a higher risk of heart attack and stroke. Through medications, lifestyle changes and changes in diet, these conditions can also be managed for optimal health.
An internist may also make referrals to other specialists. If you have questions, make an appointment and see the services and options available to you given your current health issues.