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When Should You See an Internal Medicine Doctor?
When it comes to your health, you want to ensure that you get quality care. While many people turn to a general practitioner (GP) for routine checkups and annual physicals, others may benefit considerably from working with an internal medicine doctor. Though the two medical professionals may seem similar at face value, they are actually different. This article will review common reasons for choosing an internal medicine practitioner for your next medical visit.
What is an internal medicine doctor?
Internal medicine doctors are specialists in diagnosing and treating the conditions of adults. They are sometimes referred to as internists, who have a broad knowledge of the body’s systems and how they work to keep the body healthy. Once someone visits an internal practice, they usually make the doctor their primary care physician because of the area of services they can receive.
In addition to treating common ailments, an internal medicine practitioner can help diagnose, treat, or manage high blood pressure, diabetes, allergies, and weight management issues. They may also provide preventative care services such as annual physicals and cancer screenings.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure (hypertension) can be a chronic condition, or it can spike due to pain, stress, lack of physical activity, or a high-sodium diet. It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is greater than normal. As a result, the heart may pump harder and faster to circulate blood through the body, which causes damage to the brain, heart, and kidneys. The internal medicine doctor will devise plans, including medications and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other serious health problems.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes glucose or sugar. There are two main types: type 1 and type two. In both cases, the body cannot produce enough insulin– a hormone that helps convert sugar into energy–or properly use insulin. Without insulin, the body cannot move sugar from the blood into the cells, where it is used for energy.
In type 1 diabetes, a person’s immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas that makes insulin. A person often develops type 1 diabetes as an infant or sometime during their childhood. In type 2 diabetes, beta cells do not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, so the amount of glucose in the bloodstream rises above normal levels.
Allergies are a reaction of some of the body’s cells to foreign substances called allergens, which may be proteins in foods, pollen, and pet dander (dandruff), among others. These allergens trigger the immune system to release chemicals that cause inflammation, runny nose, hives, watery or itchy eyes, asthma attacks, skin rashes, or a closed throat.
The internal medicine doctor will perform one or several diagnostic tests to help determine the culprit of the symptoms. After, they will determine a prescription-strength treatment plan for the patient based on the type of allergy and severity of their symptoms.
Weight management is the act of controlling one’s body weight healthily. An internal medicine doctor can devise plans involving medications, controlled diet plans, and exercise regimes for patients who need help losing, gaining, or managing their weight. People can need help for various reasons, including eating disorders or underlying medical conditions like cancer or gastrointestinal disorders.
In addition, if a patient has a specialty physician helping them with their underlying medical condition, such as a psychiatrist or cancer specialist, they can work with them to ensure their care plans do not interfere.
The best way to treat a condition is to either prevent it from happening or catch it in its early stages. This is why an internal medicine practitioner provides basic annual physicals as well as added tests based on a patient’s age and gender. For example, the doctor may recommend prostate exams every three to five years for men over the age of 50.
They will also recommend cancer screenings to all patients, but with a strong urge for those who are predisposed, over the age of 45, have a history of benign tumors or moles, and those who smoke. If caught early, most types of cancers are curable with various treatment plans.
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We hope this information has been beneficial. Contact us today if you have any questions or want to schedule a consultation.
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