What does internal medicine do?
Internal medicine deals with the disorders of the internal organs (heart, lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, spleen, blood, kidneys, metabolism, joints, backbones); it regards the body as a whole and deals with the diagnosis and treatment of most diseases suffered by adults (over 18 years old). In some cases the physician for internal diseases refers the patient to a specialist such as a cardiologist, pulmonologist, nephrologist, hematologist, etc.
The vast majority of patients suffer from several diseases and require multiple treatments. By the advice given by the physician, the patient avoids excess medical consultations that may not be necessary. The physician specialized in internal diseases analyzes the situations and decides which medical condition requires special check-ups or treatment. The physician also coordinates regimens so that there is no superposition or medication does not have side effects.
There are also medical conditions of the whole body that affect many vital organs, the so-called system diseases (collagenases, vasculitis, etc.), also handled by internal medicine. A patient who was consulted by several physicians of various specialties and did not receive a proper diagnosis may suffer from such a system disease; that patient should address a specialist in internal medicine. The specialist in internal medicine is also the one who most frequently diagnoses cancer patients (including asymptomatic forms); he then refers the patient to the oncologist and/or surgeon.
Family physicians or the GP’s use to refer the patients with multiple co-morbidities or those with unclear, vague or hard to classify symptoms to the specialist in internal medicine.
The main diseases treated and diagnosed by internal medicine are the following:
- Heart: high blood pressure, ischemic heart disease, heart failure
- Lungs: chronic bronchitis, asthma, COPD, pneumonia, acutetracheobronchitis, sarcoidosis, cancerscreening
- Stomach: gastritis, ulcer, reflux disease, cancerscreening
- Liver: hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis(fatty liver), dyskinesia andgallstones(stones), cancerscreening
- Colon: irritable bowelcancerscreening.
- Kidney: Kidney stones(sandandstones), urinary tract infection, pyelonephritis, chronic renal failure(first stage).
- Blood:anemia, detect otherseriousdiseases(lymphoma, leukemia).
- Skeletonandjoints: degenerativeand inflammatoryrheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis.
- Metabolism: dyslipidemia(high cholesterol), gout, diabetes, and diseases of thethyroid
- SystemDiseases: lupus,scleroderma, vasculitis(Wegener’s disease, etc.)