Internal Medicine

Internal medicine is the practice of treating the whole person,
rather than only symptoms and is a comprehensive treatment often
dealing with disease of the internal organs and an attempt to cure
non-surgically. Internal medicine looks at the overall lifestyle,
nutrition habits, family history and possible risk factors of an
individual and may use nutrition and exercise modifications, coupled
with medical treatment, as a way of preventing and combating serious

Those who practice internal medicine are
often referred to as “internists” and have completed three years of
internal medicine training in addition to acquiring their medical
degree. General internists treat patients for ongoing wellness, minor
illness and serious disease. Many adults use an internist as their
primary care physician due to the overall holistic and integrative
health care provided. However, some doctors specialize in a sub-field
of internal medicine, which often deals solely with one of the major
organs or body functions. For instance, cardiologists are internists
who treat the heart while endocrinologists are specially trained in the
body’s glands and hormones and treat diseases related to their
malfunction. Internists are often consulted by other doctors for help
with particularly puzzling cases as this is where their specialized
talents lie.

Internal medicine originated as a
discipline in the late 19th Century. Its name is of German origins and
means putting lab research to practice in caring for individual
patients. With the advent of advanced medical technology, internists
now have an array of research and diagnostic tools at their disposal
which are less invasive and may therefore be performed by the internist
rather than requiring a surgeon. For instance, the use of tiny cameras
allows for various procedures such as a colonoscopy to inspect the
colon or an endoscopy which views the lining of the digestive tract and
can help with the diagnosis of various gastrointestinal disorders.
Having less evasive procedures to work with, many treatments done by an
internist can be done non-surgically and with relative ease by the
patient. Additionally, given the very nature of internal medicine, some
better nutrition and exercise habits may need to be incorporated into
the overall treatment plan.

Internal medicine offers a holistic and integrative approach to the treatment and prevention of serious illness.