Should I See an Internal Medicine or Family Medicine Doctor? All You Need to Know

Being proactive about your health is important at all stages of life. Whether you’re picking a new doctor after seeing a pediatrician for most of your life, or you’re considering making a change in your care routine, it’s important to think about the key differences between family medicine vs. internal medicine.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that any doctor is going to be able to give you the help and expertise you need. Specialties exist for a reason, and finding a doctor that can treat you or other members of your family is important. 

If you’re looking for a new doctor, this a post you have to read. Get ready for a quick primer on the differences between an internal medicine doctor and family physicians so you can make the right decision about your health care.

Family Medicine Vs. Internal Medicine: What to Know 

Before you make a decision on the kind of doctor you should see, there are some key facts you should know about both niches of medicine. 

This may come as a surprise, but it’s possible that doctors in both practices can treat both children and adults. They may be able to treat people of all ages, but their specialties can make a difference in who you choose. 

What to Know About Internal Medicine Doctors

Internal medicine doctors (also known as internists) typically care for adults. It’s possible that some internal medicine doctors may see children, but in order to do this they have to have training in regular internal medicine and pediatrics. 

An internal medicine doctor specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease in the patients they see. 

Seeing an internal medicine doctor can be a great way to diagnose and start treatment for certain problems. It isn’t uncommon for an internal medicine doctor to refer patients to specialists for certain issues, but still act as a patient’s primary doctor as they go through treatment in other places. 

Even though internal medicine doctors are trained to diagnose and treat a wide variety of problems, it’s also possible that they may have a subspeciality. You can find an internal medicine doctor that specializes in neurology, dermatology, geriatrics, and other areas of medical care.

What to Know About Family Medicine Doctors

A family medicine doctor is a medical professional that’s able to treat people of all ages. Their care specialties can cover pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine, and geriatrics. 

It isn’t uncommon for a family care provider to care for the same patients throughout their entire lives. In some cases, they may even care for multiple generations of a family at the same time!

Like internal medicine doctors, they’re trained to be able to treat a wide variety of conditions. Their training does cover a wide range of areas of medicine, but despite that, some may still choose to take up specialties. 

Some family medicine doctors may have a special focus on sports medicine, palliative care, and even obstetrics. 

It’s important to note that you don’t have to have a family to be seen by a family doctor. The term family doctor just means that they can treat patients at different stages of life. 

Which Kind of Doctor Should I Choose?

The truth is that both kinds of doctors can be well suited to treat a variety of problems. If you’re an adult that’s in need of reliable medical care, either a family doctor or an internal medicine doctor can meet all of your health care needs. 

Everything will really come down to a matter of preference. Some people like to have a family doctor they can rely on to monitor the overall health of their family but may choose to see an internal medicine doctor for a personal problem. Others may make the opposite choice. 

The matter may come down to personal preference, but there are some unique benefits that come with seeing both kinds of medical professionals. 

Benefits of an Internal Medicine Doctor 

An internal medicine doctor may be an ideal choice for care if you don’t have any children or elderly family members to care for. They can see both you and your spouse and can give you the care you need.

If you have chronic conditions or suspect that you may have them, and internal medicine doctor can give you deeper insight into health problems and possible treatment plans. 

You may feel more comfortable seeing an internal medicine doctor if you don’t want to be around children while you wait. Family medicine doctors tend to have patients of all ages in their waiting room, and things could get a little loud if you visit on a day when they’re seeing a lot of children. 

Benefits of Seeing a Family Care Provider

One of the main benefits of seeing a family care provider is that they can see every member of your family. Building a positive and trusting relationship with a doctor early on in life can put your children at ease when it’s time for a visit, and could even make them more open to telling them about potential health problems. 

A family care provider can also make it easy to ensure that all members of your family have a reliable doctor to see. Instead of having to hunt for different providers, people of all ages can see someone you know you can trust.

Answer Your Most Pressing Medical Questions

The family medicine vs internal medicine debate really comes down to a matter of personal preference. Both doctors can treat you, but the benefits that each brings to the table will be your final deciding factor. 

Do you have more health-related questions? Are you interested in learning more about doctors, treatment options, and today’s most pressing health issues?

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