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Internal Medicine: Specialties and Subspecialties

Internal Medicine – A Brief Introduction

Internists or experts of internal medicine are professionals who solemnly work on medicine for adults. They take special courses and undergo a particular curriculum designed to cater to adult medicine. 


Mainly internists are trained to treat adults with acute as well as trivial diseases – cancer, infections, blood, digestive system, respiratory, heart concerns, kidneys, vascular systems, and joints. These are highly trained physicians who specialize in primary care internal medicine. Following are some of the areas that are catered by these experts. 


  • Prevention of diseases 
  • Reproductive organs 
  • Substance abuse 
  • Overall wellness
  • Mental health 
  • Ears related problems in health 
  • Skin concerns 
  • Eye related health issues 
  • Nervous system 


In some countries, internists are also known as “doctor’s doctors”. Because they are mostly acting as consultants to the GP (general physician) to find the solution or diagnosis.


Career – Internalist Subspecialties 

Similar to other disciplines and lines of studies, internalists are also given a wide range of career paths. We have enlisted some of them so that you can have an idea about the sub-branches of the specialties they may offer. 



An internalist who aims to take care of the patients hospitalized is referred to as a “hospitalist”. They have several responsibilities under their wing. For example; 


  • A focal point is a clinical management 
  • Safety and quality of hospitalized patients 
  • Utilization of appropriate medicines
  • Use of special studies to diagnose, treat and rectify wrong analysis


At times, hospitalists prefer starting their journey right after completing residency. However, there is a larger group of hospitalists completing years as a primary care doctor before serving as a hospitalist. 


Traditional GI (General Internalist)

Traditional Internists tend to prefer working as a primary care health expert for few years before taking up a GI position. Responsibilities given to traditional GI are to do the following. 


  • Manage medical board 
  • Take care of comprehensive spectrums of adult illnesses 
  • Diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases
  • Disease preventive measures and health advancements 
  • GI is mostly taking care of adults regarding their overall health
  • Helping physicians to maintain a rewarding relationship with patients 


PS: this diagnosis, treatments, and preventive measures are not fixated on one type of health concern or organ (system). 


The setting of GI facilitation is either based in the office or OPD. Inpatient setting changes into another designation and specialty (serving hospitalized patients).



Ambulist is an expert who takes care of patients in either OPD or office settings. 


Specialties – GI Career 

Internists are given two choices – either opt for GI medicine or get trained on special internal medicine. In total, internal medicine is divided into several subspecialties. However, to start with anyone, one has to complete basic medical schooling. 


  1. Pulmonary Disease

Pulmonary diseases are related to the lungs. Internalist choosing this field is responsible for certain aspects. Those are mentioned below.


  • Expertise in pulmonary diseases is for OPD patients 
  • Taking care of inpatient or hospitalized ones is also internalist’s duty 


PS: Heath care practitioners are trained for a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 3 years to lead a pulmonary diseases specialist’s life. 


  1. Endocrinology 

Medical associates who are specialists in the endocrinology department deal mainly with hormones. They perform and take care of the following functions or procedures. 


  • Regulating thyroid 
  • Taking care of pituitary glands 
  • Diseases and conditions associated with pancreas and adrenal hormones 
  • Testes and/or ovaries are taken care by managing target tissues 


As endocrinologists are also responsible for the profiles that reveal physiologic

dysfunctionalities related to hormones. Furthermore, an endocrinologist is supposed

to manage neoplasia that occurs in the endocrine tissues. 


Training to become an endocrinologist involves either 2 years of clinical studies or 3 years of research and clinical fellowship with residency in internal medicine. 




  1. Adolescent Medicine

Specialist in this area of medicine focuses on young adults and adolescents – sexual development, psychological development, physical development, and social development. Those who choose this field have to complete 7+ years of medical studies. After that, a specialist has to get postgraduate training. Then, get board certification in Internal Medicine. Another option at that stage is to opt for becoming a pediatrician for at least 1 and at the most 3 years. These are the specialists who study diseases and conditions, particularly for adolescents. 


  1. Sports Medicine

Sports medicine is a branch of internal medicine. It is related to anything which may happen during sports. Illnesses or injuries that are associated with athletes’ physical fitness is mainly the focal point of sports medicine specialist. Best doctors are those who follow their regime in this department. What do they follow? 


  • Refer surgical treatments 
  • Recommend specialist to prescribe meds 
  • Make sure if there is a need for physiotherapy, etc. 
  • Medical problems in athletes are catered 


Besides that, sports medicine is best to get exercise programs, fitness or physical improvement, and living a risk-free life. Doctors who want to take up this field as a specialty have to undergo certain courses. Soon after completed 1 year of fellowship, they are bound to complete a residency in internal medicine. 


  1. Cardiovascular Disease 

All those doctors who work under myocardial infarction, heart arrest or attack, and other chronic heart concerned diseases are categorized under cardiovascular expert. One has to complete specialization in heart illnesses and diseases, internal medicine residency, and fellowship. It takes 4 and at times 5 years to become a full-fledged expert. Preventive care specialists also take the same duration though. 


  1. Infectious Disease

Infectious diseases are diagnosed by a specific type of primary care provider. He is the one who specializes in infectious diseases and for that, he has to go through 2 years of fellowship with 1 year of internal medicine residency. 


  1. Gastroenterology

Gastroenterologists are highly trained physicians who receive an advanced level of training in researching, diagnosing, and treating disorders related to the liver pr gastrointestinal tract. Training to become certified takes 3 years of fellowship. After that, a complete year of internal medicine residency is required to start practicing. 


Takeaway: Internal Medicine in Indus Medical Associate

Interestingly, there is more to offer by Indus Medical Associate. What does it mean? Well, there are only some specialties mentioned in regard to internal medicine. Other than that, there are other departments too. For example, geriatrics, hematology, nephrology, immunology, and allergy, and hematology.