Apex Medical Center
2116 S. Wayne Rd. | Westland, MI 48186
(734) 629-8971

What Exactly is Internal Medicine?

Michigan Internal Medicine Specialists

When people think of internal medicine, a lot of them don’t immediately know what it means. The term “internal medicine” comes across as vague, especially when you put it alongside family medicine or general medicine. Some people mistake internists, or doctors of internal medicine, to be surgeons because they deal with internal organs; and some people also confuse internists with interns, or students of medicine undergoing on-the-job training.

To end the confusion, here is a simple description of what internists do.

Internal medicine vs. family medicine

The biggest difference between family medicine and internal medicine is that internal medicine focuses on the general care of adults, age 18 and onwards. Internists deal with adult diseases; they can choose to specialize in any of the following fields: cardiology (heart), gastroenterology (digestive problems), nephrology (kidneys), pulmonology (lungs), oncology (cancer), rheumatology (arthritis), allergy treatment, hepatology (liver), hematology (blood), treatment of infectious diseases, geriatrics (old age), and endocrinology (diabetes).

Meanwhile, practitioners of family medicine, or general practitioners, cater to patients of all ages, and this includes medical attention for babies and children. Some family medicine doctors choose to specialize in newborn medicine and the delivery of babies, as well as pediatrics or the general care for children.

Another way of distinguishing internal medicine from family medicine is that family medicine tends to focus on outpatient services while internal medicine puts a lot more emphasis on inpatient services. Outpatient services are usually delivered in a clinic while inpatient services encompass all treatment that comes after admitting a patient into a hospital.

Some people choose to see a family medicine doctor or a general practitioner first during the onset of an illness. A general practitioner can provide overall treatment for common conditions. They usually bridge a gap in the community, especially in cases when a family cannot afford to see a specialist right away. However, when the individual’s symptoms show complications and signs that need a higher level of attention and training, family medicine doctors can then forward the case to internal medicine.

In short, internists simply handle all illnesses that affect adults. They provide expert diagnosis and treatment of chronic illnesses as well as disease prevention. If you are an individual suffering from multiple problems and are in need of different types of medication, it is advised that you see an internist. Internists are also called “the doctor’s doctor” because they act as consultants to other physicians when a difficult case is at hand.

How does one become an internist?

 Internists focus on adult medicine and undergo special study and training on the prevention and treatment of adult diseases. Three to four years of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate studies are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases that affect adults. During that period, they become residents at continuity clinics and can also spend time as consultants in outpatient subspecialty clinics. After completing at least three years of training, an internist can work in a hospital or in private practice.

Beyond the specialized training and expert knowledge of adult illnesses, internists are known to take care of their clients like they were family. Building client relationships remains to be one of the most important aspects of medicine, and this is something that our medical staff at Apex Medical Center in Westland, Michigan have taken to heart. Let us take care of you and your family by providing you with the best medical care possible. Call us today at 734-629-8971 to schedule an appointment or visit our clinic at 2116 S. Wayne Rd. for expert treatment and compassionate care.

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