The specialty of internal medicine covers a wide range of conditions affecting the internal organs of the body - the heart, the lungs, the liver and gastro-intestinal tract, the kidneys and urinary tract, the brain, spinal column, nerves, muscles and joints. Although some diseases specifically affect individual organs, the majority of common diseases - arteriosclerosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer may affect many internal organs of the body. The internist must then be trained to recognise and manage a broad range of diseases and, with the aging population, many patients with chronic and multiple disorders.
The specialist in internal medicine - the internist - most commonly practices in hospitals where he may care for the patients during an acute illness or supervise their care in out patient clinics.
An internist, also called a general internist or doctor of internal medicine, is a medical doctor that specializes in the diagnosis and medical (nonsurgical) treatment of adults. Internists provide long-term, comprehensive care and manage both common and complex diseases. An internist can serve as a primary care physician or as a consultant to other medical specialists.