Internal medicine

Internal medicine is one of the most complex fields of general medicine, in which, in addition to treatment, prevention is also playing an increasingly important role. The internal medicine specialist mainly deals with pathological changes and dysfunctions of the internal organs and organ systems. Many disciplines are based on internal medicine, such as: diabetology for diabetes, gastroenterology for the digestive system, endocrinology for hormone function, nephrology for kidney disease, cardiology for cardiovascular disease, pulmonology for the respiratory system and hematology for dealing with blood disorders.

The internal medicine specialist coordinates these disciplines when treating the patient. This role is comparable to that of a general practitioner, as it may either cure only one acute illness or play a caring role for years in the treatment of chronic diseases.

When should I see an internal medicine specialist?

An internal medicine specialist (internist) should be sought if the patient's symptoms are uncertain, with no specific idea of the source of their complaint, hence they cannot decide which medical specialist to turn to:

  • General symptoms: tiredness, lethargy, pallor, weakness and malaise
  • For high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels
  • Loss of appetite, queasiness, nausea
  • Sudden and severe weight loss or weight gain
  • Difficulty swallowing, heartburn, reflux complaints
  • Prolonged abdominal pain, bloating
  • General health condition survey
  • Preoperative examination

What happens during the internal medicine examination?

The internal medical examination begins with a medical history: the specialist thoroughly interviews the patient about their current complaints, previous illnesses and surgeries, medications taken regularly, known allergies, hypersensitivity, family illnesses and the patient's lifestyle. This is followed by a painless physical examination. The specialist first examines the color of the skin and visible mucous membranes and then measures the patient’s blood pressure and heart rate. A stethoscope is used to listen to the heart and lungs, then the doctor manually palpates the thyroid gland, lymph nodes, and checks the condition of the abdominal organs (liver and spleen). After the medical history and physical examination, additional tests may be required to make an accurate diagnosis: laboratory tests - blood sampling – as well as x-rays, MRI/CT scans and ECG tests.

How should I arrive for the examination?

Bring your medical records related to internal medicine treatments and final reports from any surgeries as diseases may be related to each other. In addition, it is important that the patient discusses the list of medications they have previously taken, together with the dosage, with his or her specialist.