This is perhaps one of the most confusing questions for patients and aspiring medical school students. For those who want to join the medical career, you are most likely to find yourself choosing between these two categories. Whereas the two belong to the primary care division, there are fundamental differences in the area of focus and even how they are trained. For the internists, they practice general internal medicine and provide care to the adults.
A family practitioner combines the roles of a pediatrician and that of an internist. In other words, the family doctor is a medical specialty that is devoted to caring for people of all ages. To fully understand the difference between these two medical specialties, let us closely examine the role played by the two. With the deep knowledge about the two, you will know whether to see an internal medicine or family doctor.
A Close Look at the Internal Medicine Specialty
By definition, internal medicine is a discipline that is focused on providing health care to adults.
The internal medicine physician is a specialty who through scientific knowledge and clinical expertise, diagnosis, treats, and provides compassionate care to the adults. He or she is referred to as the internist. The internists or “doctor of adults” spends a minimum of three years of the seven years at medical college and the postgraduate training learning how to prevent, diagnose, and treat the diseases that affect the adults. After the basic training that is focused on adults, they qualify to practice internal medicine.
The general internist provides comprehensive primary care to the adults and the elderly from the office as well as from the hospital setting and manages both the common and the complex illnesses. They will not treat newborns, but they are qualified to see the adolescents. Through their extensive knowledge of medical conditions that affect adults, the internists continue to play an increasingly critical role in the provision of healthcare. The primary responsibilities of internal medicine include:
- Health maintenance and disease screening including substance abuse and mental health
- Carry out the diagnosis of acute and chronic medical conditions
- Manage patients with multiple complex medical problems
- Provide an effective treatment of ears, eyes, skin, reproductive organs and the nervous system
- They are consultants to other disciplines.
There are various subspecialties that are open to internal medicine and they include the following:
- The adolescent medicine
- Allergy and Immunology
- Cardiovascular conditions
- Endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism
- Gastrointestinal system
- Infectious diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, fungal infections, and parasitic infections
- Pulmonary diseases
- Sleep medicine.
Adults and adolescents can consult the internal medicine doctors in case of problems that require attention from either of the above specialties
The Family Medicine Discipline
This medical specialty provides continuing comprehensive health care for persons of all ages. The family medicine specialty integrates biological, clinical, and behavioral sciences to provide healthcare to people of all ages, all sexes, and at all stages of life. The family physician must possess some unique attitudes, skills, and knowledge that qualify the person to provide ongoing comprehensive medical care to every family member. Here are some of the roles that are played by the family medicine practitioner.
1. They Oversee Preventive Care
The family doctor is responsible for educating the whole family on the prevention of diseases and the maintenance of health. This is one of the most involving roles that a family doctor plays in his or her carrier. They will provide primary healthcare to the entire being and this covers mental and emotional needs. The role involves preventive care through:
- Stress relief and management of anger
- Weight control and nutritional counseling
- Reproductive health issues including testing fertility and providing counseling
- Physical health including suggesting the best physical exercises for fitness
2. Management of Common Complaints
The family doctor is the medical resource that handles a child with the flu virus to an adult with a bladder infection. He provides an appropriate prescription, offers immunizations and addresses your concern on Children growth.
3. Diagnosing Emerging Conditions
The family medicine practitioner understands your medical history well. This is having treated you over a long period, and hence is able to diagnose any emerging condition. The experience helps him to quickly tell a significant change in your health.
4. Management of Chronic Illnesses
A family doctor has the knowledge required for managing stroke, heart diseases, asthma, diabetes and other conditions like cancer. These are some of the most common chronic and degenerative conditions that the family physician manages.
5. Provide Consultancy to Other Medicine Disciplines
The family doctors are quarterbacks in the health care discipline. They supervise the nurses, the physician assistants, and the medical assistants as well. They interface the collaborative network of physicians to ensure a healthy nation.
Now, you understand the difference between the internal medicine and the family medicine disciplines.
Article provided by Medical Clinic Inc.