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Internal medicine deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases in adult patients (anyone over 18 years of age). Internal medicine specialists are also referred to as internists. An internal medicine specialist is a fully qualified medical doctor with specialized post-graduate education and training, and should not be confused with an intern, who is a doctor in their first year of residency training.
An internal medicine doctor's education and training is very broad and comprehensive. For example, they may be treating someone for cancer and another patient with diabetes. An internal medicine doctor’s in-depth understanding of multiple conditions and the ways in which they interact is crucial. As people age, they sometimes develop complex medical issues that need an internal medicine doctor’s expertise. Because of this, an internal medicine doctor often serves as the primary care physician throughout a patient’s adult life. This provides the opportunity to establish long and fulfilling personal relationships with their patients. You may also be referred to an internal medicine doctor by your family medicine practitioner or other primary care provider.
Internal medicine doctors are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases affecting the heart, blood, kidneys and joints; cancer and common illnesses and infections; and conditions affecting the digestive, respiratory and vascular systems. They are also trained in primary care internal medicine, which includes disease prevention, substance abuse, mental health, and treatment of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system, and reproductive system.

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