A doctor of internal medicine is a specialized doctor that knows how to diagnose, prevent and treat diseases that affect adults. Internists train in diagnostics for at least three of the seven years of medical school. Internal doctors do not work with children.
Doctors of internal medicine are trained to diagnose and treat both common and rare chronic or acute illnesses. Although internists may operate as primary care providers, they do not act as family doctors. Thirteen subspecialties exist for internists. Subspecialties include immunology, cardiology, endocrinology, hematology and oncology. Other specialties include allergy medicine, geriatrics and adolescent medicine. Internists are experts in their specialties, but can still help the patient understand whole body wellness as well. Internists are so skilled in their puzzle-solving skills that they are often consulted by other physicians to help solve or understand a complex set of symptoms.
Internists help manage diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and arthritis because of their focus on health management. Treatments such as diet, medication and non-invasive procedures are commonly prescribed by internists. Most internists do not perform surgery. An internist may seek the advice of a physician with a different specialty for the treatment of complex medical conditions that are not a part of his education.