Internal medicine is the specialty and field in medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disease in adults, as well as with preventing it. It is also known as general medicine in some countries and it is basically a generalized domain that treats all kinds of disease and health issues, usually within a hospital. Persons working within internal medicine are called internists, though they are also sometimes referred to as physicians, as in dealing with physical aspects of the human body, just like psychiatrists deal with the human psyche.
Internists from internal medicine can also be found working within research or teaching departments, precisely because of their general knowledge of the human body and what ails it. Veterinary medicine along with clinical pharmacy, are two realms that also contain departments of internal medicine. The term for this field comes from the German language, from the term Innere Medizin, which was a way of describing the activities of 19th century physicians whom not only dealt with laboratory experiments and studies, but with the consultation of patients as well. The term internal medicine was brought over to America by physicians who went to study in Germany in the 20th century.
The internists are usually found working in hospitals because the types of patients they care for are mostly seriously ill and need hospitalization, treatments or surgery. This is also due to the fact that internal medicine deals with discovering and treating complex diseases and illnesses that may not reveal themselves so easily so the internist needs to do thorough and complicated investigations in a place where he/she has all the tools necessary and the patient can be kept under supervision during that time.
Though internal medicine treats and studies all kinds of diseases, an internist can also choose to specialize in a certain part of the human body, in an organ, or a certain type of disease. Thus, when such a problem arises, said internist will be the best choice for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease. However, internist should not be confused with interns, who are resident doctors fresh out of school, nor with family physicians or other general practitioners who have other fields of work.
Some of the subspecialties that an internist can choose from within internal medicine are adolescent medicine, endocrinology, hematology, interventional cardiology, infectious disease, rheumatology, nephrology and many others. Internal medicine uses various methods of treatment, including medication and surgery.