Glossary of Medical Terms


An internist is a medical doctor who specializes in the care of adults. People might choose an internist as their primary doctor for regular checkups and for treating illness.

Internists can further specialize in:

  • Adolescent medicine (conditions and diseases common to teenagers).

  • Allergy, or immunology (immune system diseases).

  • Cardiac electrophysiology (problems with the heart's electrical system).

  • Cardiology (diseases and conditions of the heart and blood vessels).

  • Critical care medicine (the care of people who are in an intensive care unit, or ICU).

  • Endocrinology (diseases of the endocrine glands, which regulate hormones).

  • Gastroenterology (diseases of the digestive system).

  • Geriatric medicine (conditions and diseases in older adults).

  • Hematology (diseases of the blood and blood system).

  • Infectious disease (complex infections).

  • Interventional cardiology (procedures to diagnose and treat heart disease).

  • Nephrology (diseases of the kidney and urinary system).

  • Oncology (cancer).

  • Pulmonology (lung diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and pneumonia).

  • Rheumatology (immune system diseases and diseases of the joints).

  • Sports medicine (the treatment of injuries to the bones, muscles, joints, tendons, or ligaments that result from physical activity).

Internists can be board-certified by the Board of Internal Medicine, which is recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. 

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