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Internist/Internal Medicine

Overview

Internists are physicians specializing in internal medicine, a discipline focused on the care of adults. At least three of their seven or more years of medical school and postgraduate training are dedicated to learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect adults.

You may see doctors of internal medicine referred to by several terms, including "internists" and "general internists." But don't mistake them with "interns," who are doctors in their first year of residency training.

General internists are equipped to handle the broad spectrum of illnesses that affect adults, and they are skilled in diagnosis, treatment of chronic illness, and health promotion and disease prevention. Internists are trained to solve puzzling diagnostic problems and can handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time. They have broad knowledge of women's health, substance abuse, mental health, as well as effective treatment of common problems of the cardiovascular system, skin, nervous system, and reproductive organs.

Source: MedlinePlus and American College of Physicians

Note: This definition was prepared to help consumers find reliable health resources on the web. This site is not responsible for the information on other sites. The information here — and on all websites — is not intended to be a substitute for care given to you by a health professional.

Recommended Reading

Internal Medicine, American College of Physicians
This link to the website of the American College of Physicians provides an overview of internal medicine and its subspecialties.

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