The medical specialty dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults. A physician who specializes in internal medicine is referred to as an internist. Subspecialties of internal medicine include allergy and immunology, cardiology (heart diseases), endocrinology (hormone disorders), hematology (blood disorders), infectious diseases, gastroenterology (diseases of the gut), nephrology (kidney diseases), oncology (cancer), pulmonology (lung disorders), and rheumat-ology (arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders).
Specialties of Internal Medicine
- Adolescent medicine: Adolescent medicine specialists focus on the physical, psychological, social and sexual development of adolescents and young adults.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Specialists treat patients with acute and chronic cardiovascular conditions including chronic coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, acute myocardial infarction, and other congenital heart disease.
- Endocrinology: Specialty of internal medicine that deals with the hormonal regulation of normal physiology including the pituitary, thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, ovaries/testes and their target tissues. Dysregulation of the physiologic hormone profiles result in systemic illnesses with significant ramifications. In addition, the practice of endocrinology includes the management of neoplasia occurring in endocrine tissues.
- Gastroenterology: diagnose and treat disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and liver.
- Hematology: specialize in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood, bone marrow, and the immunologic, hemostatic and vascular systems.
- Hematology/Medical Oncology:Specialty of internal medicine that deals with 1) the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders affecting the blood, bone marrow, immunologic, and hemostatic/vascular systems, and 2) all forms of cancer and its therapy.
- Infectious Disease: Specialists diagnose and treat contagious diseases. At the onset of the antibiotic era, the specialty was thought to be on the edge of extinction. It is now making a large comeback due to the great diversity of drug-resistant bacteria and the AIDS epidemic. Disease specialists also practice general internal medicine.
- Medical Oncology: Specialty of internal medicine that deals with the diagnosis and, more specifically, the management of the treatment of cancer.
- Nephrology: Specialty of internal medicine that deals with disorders of the kidney, including those that affect kidney function, kidney stone formation, fluid and electrolyte homeostasis, and regulation of blood pressure. Nephrologists diagnose and treat kidney diseases, including both the conditions these diseases can produce — such as hypertension — as well as diseases that can cause kidney failure — such as diabetes mellitus and polycystic kidney disease.
- Pulmonary Disease: Specialists treat patients with diseases of the lungs in both the inpatient and outpatient setting.
Rheumatology: Specialist experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other diseases of the joints, muscles and bones. Many rheumatologists conduct research to determine the cause and better treatments for these disabling and sometimes fatal diseases.
- Geriatrics: Specialty of internal medicine concerned with the health and well-being of older adults. They study conditions specific to aging, including geriatric assessment and rehabilitation, preventive medicine, management of patients in long-term care settings, and psycho-social, ethical, legal, and economic issues pertinent to geriatric patients.
- Allergy and Immunology: Specialty of internal medicine concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of problems with the human immune system.
- Sports Medicine: Specialists are concerned with all problems — injury and illness alike — related to athletics and physical fitness. They decide when to refer patients to a surgical specialist or prescribe treatments, such as physical therapy. They are especially well-suited to care for people with medical problems (for example, asthma, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, or obesity) who wish to begin an exercise program, improve their fitness, and reduce risks to their health.