What Is Internal Medicine? What Are The Subspecialties Of Internal Medicine?

Internal medicine is a field in medicine that focuses on treating adults. The doctors in this department prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases that affect all adults, from short-term care to chronically ill patients. A doctor is referred to as internist once they complete an internal medicine residency. Internists generally choose to subspecialize on one part of the body or one illness. An internist’s specific medical training helps them to provide accurate medical guidance, which is necessary for both routine care and disease prevention. The patient has to see an internist depending on their medical conditions. Here is a list of the subspecialties that come under internal medicine. You can also read the internal medicine journal for more information.


Pulmonologists are lung doctors that focus on conditions like asthma and emphysema/chronic bronchitis, sleeping problems as they are often related to breathing.


Endocrinologists treat hormone and gland conditions in patients such as diseases of the thyroid gland, diabetes, and other hormone-related. There are some instances where a person with diabetes should see an endocrinologist.


Cardiologists treats conditions of the heart and blood vessels such as heart attacks, Congestive Heart Failure (or CHF), and other heart-related diseases.


Gastroenterologists treat conditions of the digestive system (esophagus, stomach, pancreas, small intestine, large intestine, and liver).  Some of the conditions they treat are severe or chronic heartburn, chronic diarrhea or constipation, indigestion, stomach pain, chronic diarrhea or constipation, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS).


Hepatologists focus mainly on the liver and its conditions.  The conditions include severe or chronic liver diseases, Hepatitis A, B or C, liver failure, and liver transplants.


Hematologist/Oncologists treat blood disorders and cancer. These two sub-specialties are usually combined. Some of the conditions they treat are anemia (low blood count) or as breast, lung, and colon cancer. Although they do not perform any surgery on the cancers, they sometimes administer chemotherapy to treat cancer.



Nephrologists focus on treating kidney conditions. They treat patients with partial kidney damage, which is generally referred to as renal insufficiency, kidney failure, and also manage the dialysis. A urologist is another type of kidney doctor who treats different kinds of kidney problems such as kidney stones. However, they do not come under this category of internal medicine.


Rheumatologists treat autoimmune diseases. These diseases occur when the body’s immune system attacks itself instead of attacking an outside bacteria or virus.  Some of these diseases are Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) and lupus.  They also treat several joint conditions such as gout, as autoimmune diseases cause pain and swelling in the joints. However, they typically do not see patients with joint injuries caused by sports or overuse. Read the Nuclear Medicine Journal.


Allergist/Immunologists, as the name suggests, perform allergy testing to see which substances or foods a person is allergic to (e.g., mold, pollen, nuts). They control allergy shots to desensitize a person to allergic substances and make their allergies less severe. They also treat immune deficiency conditions which occur due to under-functioning of the immune system.

Infectious Disease:

Doctors who practice in this area treat severe and chronic infections. Some of the common infections these doctors treat are HIV/AIDS, severe skin infections, and bone infections. Infectious Disease doctors generally do not come into the picture as most of the conditions are detected by a general physician and treated.


Geriatricians focus mainly on providing treatments to elderly adults. These doctors generally see patients who are of the age 80 and above. Some of the conditions they treat are dementia (Alzheimer’s and other types) and help them maintain their quality of life.

Author Bio:

Saumya Srivastava writes articles/ blogs, which, considering where you are reading these, makes perfect sense. She’s best known for writing articles on health and specializes in Engineering & Technology, IT and Medicine streams. She is a wanderlust, novel geek and always high on food. When in search of food, cooking is the only therapy that soothes her senses.

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