understanding your medical insurance policy

3 Reasons to Visit an Internal Medicine Specialist

by Peppi Halko

Even though most people know that there is an internal medicine doctor (or internist) located in their town or even know someone who visits one on a regular basis, many have no idea what an internal medicine doctor actually specializes in. An internal medicine specialist is a professional who has spent a great deal of their time learning about adult diseases and how they affect the processes and systems of the body.

As a patient, it is important to get to know a little about the different specialties where physicians are concerned because you never know when an issue may come up that you need specialized care. Take a look at these three reasons to visit an internal medicine physician. 

You have a rare disease or illness that your family doctor is not familiar with. 

Because internists spend so much of their time learning about various illnesses and diseases, many will know about rare illness and conditions that other doctors have no experience or expertise with themselves. If you are diagnosed with an illness or disease and your doctor tells you it is a rare condition, it is a good idea to ask for a referral to see an internist. An internist will likely be able to give you more insight about the condition. 

You need insight as to how a disease or illness is affecting your body. 

An internist is extremely familiar with how diseases and chronic illnesses can affect certain bodily systems and functions, both because they have spent a lot of time studying such topics and also because they have likely had a lot of experience treating other patients for their symptoms. If you have a certain condition, even if you already have a treating physician, it is a good idea to go to an internist for advice about how your condition is affecting your body as a whole. Good examples of conditions an internist will be familiar with include:

  • various forms of cancer, leukemia, and myeloma 
  • multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • liver disease, such as cirrhosis
  • diabetes
  • degenerative diseases 
  • chronic heart conditions and heart diseases

You want advice about avoiding genetic family diseases. 

Even before you are diagnosed with a disease, you may have reason to visit an internist for treatment and advice, especially if you have a family history of genetic diseases that put you at risk. An internist can do the proper testing and assessment to help determine your risks and even offer sound medical advice as to how to avoid some conditions as much as possible.