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What Is The Difference Between a Cardiologist and Internal Medicine?

Conditions like hypertension, high cholesterol levels, and angina pain plaque millions of people in the United States. Each day, a significant percentage of the population looks for an internal medicine doctor near me to get themselves treat. However, many people are not able to differentiate between a cardiologist and an internist for their health. Here’s what differentiates the two types of physicians and which one should you opt for.

Internist – A Jack of All Trades

Internists are trained in internal medicine – a primary healthcare specialty. They treat adults over the age of 18 with a range of ailments that range over a spectrum of severity. From a headache or sore throat to hypertension, diabetes, and asthma – internists offer prevention, management, and treatment strategies. The trained practitioners are proficient in primary healthcare, general health status evaluation, and treatment of complex diseases and disorders. They also look after the onset of potential diseases in patients that are at risk for their development.

Internal medicine practitioners study internal medicine as a part of their medical specialty. They then complete a three-year residency program before their practice. Additionally, many internists choose additional training in subspecialties such as neurology, pulmonology, cardiology, oncology, endocrinology, and others. Since they practice in both inpatient and outpatient settings, including critically hospitalized patients – internists are experience to handle complex diseases. Their expertise renders them capable of treating crucial medical diseases and disorders. Moreover, they also possess profound knowledge regarding an array of adult diseases, irrespective of their stage of progression.

What Can Internists Treat?

An internist is not limited to patient demographic, organ, or organ system. They’re therefore proficient in the management of chronic diseases, prevention of potential ailments, and health promotion.

Following are the conditions, in which internal medicine doctors are skilled to provide treatment,


An internist can diagnose and manage common allergic conditions such as sinusitis, pharyngitis,  and skin allergies. Furthermore, they also conduct rhinoscopy for a better evaluation of the nose, throat, and airways.

Cardiovascular conditions

While it is recommend to visit a cardiologist for matters concerning the cardiovascular system, you can also see an internist in case of mild to moderate conditions. From common medical conditions such as hypertension to complicated ones like,

  • Acute decompensated heart failure
  • Acute myocardial infarction
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction
  • Failed fibrinolysis (thrombolysis) or threatened reclusion in acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction
  • Myopericardial disease
  • Narrow QRS complex tachycardias
  • New-onset atrial fibrillation
  • Non-sustained ventricular tachycardia

An internist can solely manage these conditions or work together with a cardiac specialist to prevent further complications.

Pulmonary conditions

Since an internal medicine doctor is trained in the pulmonary subspecialty, they can expertly diagnose, manage and treat pulmonary conditions related to the lungs, airways, thoracic cavity, and chest wall.

Orthopedic conditions

You can visit an internist for minor orthopedic ailments such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. The physician may recommend an X-ray or MRI for better screening of the bone condition.

Endocrine, glandular, and metabolic disorders

It is not always necessary to visit an endocrinologist when you can talk to your internal medicine doctor regarding your condition. The primary care provider is proficient to treat endocrine disorders such as hyper or hypothyroidism and diabetes. They provide hyperglycemic drugs that amplify insulin production or its efficacy. The drugs may also work by slowing down the absorption of glucose from the gastrointestinal tract.

GI-related disorders

The physician looks after conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), intestinal and duodenal ulcers, acute and chronic constipation, and diarrhea.

Gender-specific disorders

In addition, men and women can schedule an appointment with their internal medicine doctor for

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH),
  • And erectile dysfunction for men
  • Reproductive disorders for women

Renal disorders

An internist can also treat matters concerning the urinary system as such urinary tract infections, urinary inconsistency, and kidney stones.

  1. Physiological concerns, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
  2. Critical care medicine

Internal medicine doctors are subject to a year-long service to hospitalize patients, out of which, they dedicate 3 months to the intensive/critical care units. Therefore, they are skilled to provide pulmonary and cardiac assistance to critical care patients.

Cardiologist – Cares For The Heart

Cardiologists are physicians who specialize in the treatment of disorders that concern the cardiovascular system. They are train in their diagnosis, treatment, and prevention to improve cardiac health. There are different types of a cardiologist, each proficient in different treatment approaches. While some focus on non-invasive strategies, others are invasive non-interventional cardiologists. Similarly, interventional cardiologists and electrophysiologists also look after various crucial heart conditions that require immediate medical assistance. Since a cardiologist looks after the heart, they need to be verse in interpretational and motor skills to make quick and inform decisions.

Also Read: The Best Information On How To Treat Erectile Dysfunction

What Can a Cardiologist Treat?

A cardiologist is responsible for assessing his patients and prescribing tests for diagnosing cardiac-related issues. They then produce an image of the heart and perform procedures such as cardiac catheterization and clearing arteries. After diagnosing the disease, the cardiologist counsels the patient regarding the management of their disease to prevent its prognosis from worsening.

In addition, they also treat conditions like,

  • Atrial Fibrillation, is characterize by abnormal heart rhythm. As a result, the heart is less efficient in pumping blood to the rest of the body.
  • Ventricular rhythm: The more critical type of arrhythmia is ventricular fibrillation. In this condition, the heart convulses instead of pumping blood, and hence the blood pressure varies.
  • Congenital heart disease is a malformity in the structure of the heart found in babies at birth. Nearly 1% of all babies in the United States are born with a heart defect at birth which requires corrective measures for its treatment.
  • Hypertension: It is a fairly common disease and is well managed by various internal medicine practitioners as well. However, in case of a hypertension emergency, a cardiologist intervenes to prevent or minimize damage to internal organs. In such cases, the chances for kidney and brain damage are high and therefore, require timely assistance.
  • High Cholesterol: High cholesterol can also be brought down to normal by an internist, but cardiologists may intervene to prevent the chances of an angina attack.
  • Pericarditis: It is known as the swelling and irritation in the outer layer of the heart. The condition can cause sharp, acute pain whenever the irritated parts rub against each other.

Difference Between an Internist and a Cardiologist

While an internist and a cardiologist observe patients, prescribe diagnostic tests, and manage various cardiac issues, the latter has specialized expertise. Internists deal with a variety of diseases in adults, regardless of the organ and organ system they may affect. However, a cardiologist specializes in medical conditions that are related to the heart. Many people choose to visit an appointment with an internist for issues like hypertension and PSVT clinical trials in Texas. On the other hand, cardiologists see patients that are refer to them and may even opt for surgeries if require.

Make The Right Choice For Your Health

Your heart dictates the body and its health and therefore needs to efficiently do its task. Whether you choose to visit an internal medicine doctor or a cardiologist, it is important to make a timely decision.

Bilal Ahmed Siddiqui

Bilal is a competent Digital Marketer and Content Producer at The New Editorial who has managed to establish himself as a valuable employee wherever he has set camp. His skills have always played a profitable role in various projects, as he has consistently dedicated himself to learning and improving.

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