First things first, let’s delve into what an internist doctor is?
An internist is a medical doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of a broad spectrum of adult illnesses. They are trained to provide primary care for adults, including managing chronic conditions, coordinating care for complex medical cases, and providing preventative care.
Internists are experts in managing a wide range of health issues and medical conditions, from the common cold to chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. They also have a deep understanding of how different medical conditions can interact with one another and how medications can impact a patient’s health.
However, Internal medicine is a broad field that encompasses many subspecialties, which means that there are tons of options open to you in internal medicine. While the choice of specialty for Internal Medicine residents depends on various factors, such as personal interests, career goals, job prospects, and lifestyle preferences, some popular and lucrative subspecialties for Internal Medicine residents include:
Internists can assume a greater role in the provision of health care to adolescents, typically those between the ages of 11 and 21. They are trained to address the unique physical, sexual, emotional, and social issues that arise in teens who are transitioning from childhood to adulthood. Typically, adolescent medicine specialists offer routine checkups and preventive care, such as vaccinations and health screenings, provide counseling and care related to reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases, and treat behavioral and mental health issues that commonly affect adolescents, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Additionally, they also diagnose eating disorders, and provide management of chronic diseases that begin in childhood and continue into adulthood, such as diabetes, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases.
Internists specializing in endocrinology are medical specialists who focus on the diagnosis, management, and treatment of disorders of the internal (endocrine) glands, such as pituitary gland disorders, adrenal gland disorders, thyroid, and productive system disorders, as well as disorders such as diabetes, metabolic and nutritional disorders, osteoporosis, obesity, and menstrual and sexual problems. Endocrinologists can find career opportunities in different specialties such as clinical endocrinology, research endocrinology, pediatric endocrinology, neuroendocrinology, reproductive endocrinology and more.
Gastroenterology is the branch of internal medicine that focuses on the evaluation and treatment of digestive system disorders, such as gallbladder and biliary tract disease, nutritional problems, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), pancreatitis, liver disease, and gastrointestinal cancer. As a gastroenterologist, you are responsible for ensuring normal functioning of the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts and liver. If you wish to pursue a career in GI, after your three-year internal medicine residency, you need to complete three-year fellowship in gastrointestinal medicine.
Hematology is another important branch of internal medicine that deals with the physiology, pathology, etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and prevention of blood disorders, such as anemia, bleeding disorders, red blood cells disorders, genetic blood disorders, autoimmune disorders, and blood cancers. As a hematology, you may be required to perform procedures including, bone marrow aspiration, Magnetic resonance angiography, Lumbar puncture or Positron emission tomography (PET).
Infectious Diseases is a subspecialty of internal medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Infectious disease specialists are trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of infections, from common infections such as urinary tract infections and respiratory tract infections, to more rare and complex infections such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. They also work to prevent the spread of infectious diseases through public health measures such as vaccination, infection control, and outbreak investigation.
Nephrology is another advanced subspecialty of internal medicine that deals with the study of normal kidney function, the treatment of kidney disease, and renal replacement therapy (dialysis and kidney transplantation). As a Nephrologist, you will be trained to diagnose and manage various kidney disorders, such as acute and chronic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, nephrotic syndrome, electrolyte disorders, and acid-base imbalances. You will also be responsible for managing the medical care of patients with end-stage renal disease who require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
A geriatric internist possesses extensive knowledge of the specific needs of an aging population and special skills in the diagnostic, therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative aspects of illness in the elderly. This can range from stroke to Parkinson’s Disease, movement disorders, falls and orthogeriatric attachments, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Since geriatric care involves caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions, you will need to hone your knowledge of medical ethics, social care and palliative medicine
A pulmonologist is an internist who diagnoses and treats diseases of the respiratory system — the lungs and other organs that help you breathe. As a pulmonologist, you will treat a wide range of diseases, such as Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Asthma, Cystic fibrosis, Emphysema, Interstitial lung disease, Lung cancer, Obstructive sleep apnea, Tuberculosis, Bronchiectasis, and Pneumonia. Pulmonologists use a variety of diagnostic tests to assess lung function, including spirometry, chest X-rays, CT scans, and bronchoscopy.