Chances are you’ve already heard the term “internist,” but are you aware of exactly what it is that internists do? Do you know what kinds of diseases or conditions they treat?
If you’re not sure, then read on to understand the nature of the work of internal medicine doctors.
What’s An Internal Medicine Physician?
An internist or internal medicine doctor is someone who specializes in the human internal organs, including the lungs, liver, kidney and the heart. Internal medicine physicians help in managing diseases that occur in these organs. They’re acutely aware of how the different internal organs interact.
The role of an internist is more like that of a gatekeeper. He or she keeps a close eye on the anatomy of a patient, and helps to manage chronic illnesses. Internal medicine doctors at UCF Health or other institutions consult other health specialists as needed when a disease becomes too advanced.
What Does An Internal Medicine Doctor Treat?
Below are some of the diseases or conditions that an internal medicine physician treats.
Some skin disorders are seemingly harmless, minor and easy to treat – like chickenpox and some forms of acne. Other skin problems, though, can be serious – temporary but almost debilitating, such as eczema, ringworm, hives and psoriasis.
Those who experience these problems should always seek medical attention from a dermatologist or another doctor like an internist, as they can lead to serious consequences.
Though sinusitis isn’t considered to be an infectious condition, it can still be quite painful. Some symptoms include toothache, nausea, fever, headaches and facial swelling or puffiness.
Those with asthma, allergies, structural blockages in the nasal passage or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing sinusitis.
If you have acute sinusitis, you should avoid taking aspirin and other over-the-counter pain killers without consulting an internal medicine doctor, because these drugs can make your sinuses more inflamed and congested. Get diagnosed by a physician instead to receive proper medication.
This condition causes a number of symptoms, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and heavy breathing. If you find that you’re suffering from one or more of these symptoms on a regular basis, then you should see your physician.
Because asthma risk varies from person to person, it’s essential that you communicate with your physician, particularly an internist, to monitor your symptoms and signs regularly, and to adjust your medication as necessary. Treatment of asthma consists of keeping your symptoms under control to prevent an asthma attack from occurring.
A peptic ulcer is a digestive disorder; it occurs due to inflammation of the stomach lining, which causes ulcerations in the esophagus and duodenum.
There are a number of different treatments for a peptic ulcer, but which one you choose depends on the severity of the ulcer, its location in your body and the factors that lead to its development.
The most common trigger of peptic ulcers is gastritis with Helicobacter pylori (H.pylori). When H.pylori enters into the gastric tract, it stimulates the production of gastric acid and pepsin, which irritate the stomach lining.
The symptoms of an ulcer are: heartburn, regurgitation, nausea and excessive salivation.
NSAIDs and acetaminophen medications are commonly used as treatments by internal medicine doctors for peptic ulcer. They relieve the symptoms of the disease. Also used as treatment are antacids, calcium Channel Blockers (CCBs) and acid suppressants like phenamethadine, etc.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any portion of the urinary system. This includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. The cause of a UTI is bacterial.
Treatment of these infections involves taking antibiotics to kill off the bacteria that cause the problem, as well as treating any symptoms that may occur. Sometimes, internal medicine physicians use a diuretic to treat UTIs. This promotes the increased production of urine.
Symptoms that may occur with a UTI include painful urination and the presence of blood in urine samples. If a patient has frequent, uncomfortable or continuously painful urination along with either fever or chills, then they should see a doctor for diagnosis.
As already mentioned, the conditions discussed in this article are only some of the many diseases that internal medicine physicians treat.
Note that internists may either treat conditions themselves or refer patients to other doctors for treatment. An internal medicine doctor can provide either treatment or referral for almost every disease that occurs in the internal organs of the human body.