We all need doctors. But for adults, finding the right doctor can sometimes be tricky. Adults often fall into the trap of prioritizing one health concern over all those and try to make specialist doctors their primary care physicians. It is important to have a primary care doctor with a broad general health knowledge who can treat common illnesses and write referrals to specialists. At Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, we make it our mission to provide all the health services you need – including adult medicine. Curious about adult medicine? We are happy to explain all the basics to prepare you before scheduling a consultation at our office.
What is Adult Medicine?
This is a practice of medicine that can most easily be described as being for people 18 years or older. Practitioners for adults are trained in general medicine for all adult ages, from the newly-minted adult to the elderly. These doctors have a broad general knowledge of all medical conditions, especially those related to maintaining good health.
What are Adult Medicine Services?
You can think of the services provided by an adult doctor to be the common basics of general medicine. Broadly speaking, adult doctors are trained to diagnose and treat common illnesses. The physicians at Southside Medical Center are also trained in preventative care practices to make sure you are healthy and to keep you as healthy as possible. Basic services provided by doctors for adults include:
- General physical exams
- Flu shots
- Treatment for heart disease and diabetes
- Monitoring of chronic conditions
- Men’s health concerns
- Women’s health concerns
- Referrals to specialists
Why Do You Need Adult Medicine?
Like children need pediatricians, so adults need adult doctors. Having a doctor you see regularly for check-ups makes it much easier to live a healthy lifestyle and tend to your overall wellbeing. We consider seeing a doctor to be a basic human right and a necessity for healthy living. Ultimately, however, seeing a general practice doctor is just good sense. If you can prevent illnesses, you can live a better, happier, and healthier life. You might be interested to know that there are two basic categories of adult medicine – internal medicine and family medicine. Let’s break down the basics of what each category is before you schedule an appointment at our nearest location.
What is Internal Medicine?
Internal medicine is, more or less, a term used to describe the general medical practice. Internal medicine physicians see adult patients to prevent, diagnose, and treat patients over the age of 18. Many internal medicine practitioners believe in preventative medicine, which aims to promote healthy lifestyle choices that prevent illnesses from cropping up in the first place. Doctors are often trained in internal medicine as a specialty. After medical school, doctors seek formal certification through residencies at hospitals, and during those residencies, they typically select a specialty to focus on. Internal medicine is a specialty that about 20 to 25% of doctors seek formal training for. As mentioned before, internal medicine is another way of saying general medicine. Physicians trained in internal medicine have a broad understanding of all bodily functions, especially those related to the healthy function of internal organs.
Internal medicine doctors treat many common illnesses, such as cold, flu, and allergies. These doctors also treat heart disease, diabetes, respiratory illnesses, ulcers, gastrointestinal illnesses, asthma, menopause, migraines, osteoarthritis, anemia, fatigue, and many other common medical conditions. Internal medicine doctors are not limited by any one internal organ and often diagnose acute medical problems for less common illnesses. Internal medicine doctors are often called “puzzle physicians” for this reason.
Internal medicine doctors are fully equipped to treat common conditions and monitor chronic conditions. Common treatments from internal medicine doctors include treatments for both short term and long-term conditions. Flu shots, topical treatments, and prescriptions for managing medical issues, such as hypertension or high cholesterol, are common treatments available from internal medicine doctors. These doctors also prescribe things like insulin, iron supplements, and antibiotics for viral and bacterial infections.
Internal medicine practitioners are trained to prevent, diagnose, and treat all common illnesses, but especially chronic conditions. Treating chronic conditions is perhaps one of the most important services provided by an internal medicine doctor. These doctors are trained to monitor the minute changes in lab work and advise patients of changes that can be made to promote better results and thus better health. Internal medicine doctors are also trained to detect, diagnose, and treat illnesses that are not common, as well as to treat multiple illnesses at a time. An internal medicine doctor is ideal for patients with more complex medical histories or patients who have higher risk factors for certain diseases. For example, if you know that heart disease or diabetes run in your family, you want an internal medicine practitioner who can help you prevent developing these illnesses. By the same token, if you have an uncommon medical issue, like fibromyalgia, an internal medicine doctor can also help you manage the chronic symptoms of the disorder.
What is Family Medicine?
Family medicine is a term that describes a doctor who treats people of all ages and genders. Formerly called family doctors, physicians who specialize in family medicine are general practitioners who can deal with medical issues for men, women, and children. Many families see the same family doctor for many years. If you are an adult with children, you might find it easier to schedule and go to appointments for the same doctor, which is why a family doctor might be a good option for you. As general practitioners, doctors who have specialized in family medicine are trained similarly to doctors who specialize in internal medicine. Family doctors have a working knowledge of all bodily functions, preventative medicine practices, and the diagnosis and treatment of common illnesses. Currently, about 40% of all practicing physicians are certified family doctors.
Family medicine doctors are trained to diagnose and treat acute, chronic, and common medical illnesses. You and your entire family would see a family doctor for vaccinations and flu shots, as well as for the management of issues like allergies, asthma, gastrointestinal illnesses, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive issues, and other health problems. You would also see a family medicine doctor for regular check-ups and health screenings, such as those required by work or school. Family doctors are also trained in preventative medicine. Over the course of their training at a hospital, doctors specializing in family medicine rotate through general practice, pediatrics, geriatrics, OB/GYN, orthopedics, ophthalmology, urology, and psychiatry. A family doctor is fully able to treat illnesses common to any one of these specialties or refer you to a specialist for further care.
Family doctors treat many of the same common illnesses as internal medicine doctors. The difference, however, is that family medicine doctors tailor treatments to the age of their patients. An older teen might require a different strength of medication than a middle-aged adult, for example. Common treatments from a family doctor include prescription management, flu shots, and antibiotics.
While family doctors do cover most of the same territory as internal doctors, there is one great distinction between these two categories of adult medicine: family planning. A family doctor is fully equipped to diagnose and treat both men’s and women’s health concerns, test for sex-related illnesses, and even manage contraceptive care. A family doctor seeing patients for family planning can help identify hormonal imbalances and refer patients to specialists to help with fertility issues. Additionally, family doctors are also ideal for new parents, and new mothers especially, for issues like postpartum depression and irregular menstruation after giving birth.
Choosing Between Internal Medicine and Family Medicine
Before you schedule an appointment at Southside Medical Center, you should first seriously consider which kind of adult doctor you want to see. There are advantages to seeing each category of doctor, but for some health priorities, one type of doctor might be a better fit for you than the other.
Reasons to Choose Internal Medicine
If you have a chronic condition of the internal organs, such as heart disease or diabetes or another acute illness, then an internal medicine doctor might be the best doctor to see. This is especially true if you are over the age to conceive children or are not planning on expanding your family. Many patients who see internal doctors are over the age of 50 and at a life stage where they only need to consider their personal medical concerns. Internal medicine doctors also often specifically practice geriatric medicine, which might also be a consideration to make when choosing a doctor.
Reasons to Choose Family Medicine
If you have a family or plan to have a family, then a family doctor is probably the best choice considering their expertise in family planning. Even if you are not married or you do not have children, family medicine practitioners are still good choices, considering their broad medical knowledge in a whole range of specialty practices. Many young adults to middle-aged adults see family doctors for this reason, especially women who are menstruating or entering menopause. Family medicine doctors are good choices if you have general health concerns and are interested in preventative healthcare measures. When you call to schedule an initial appointment with an adult doctor, our staff will ask if you have a preference for an internal medicine doctor or a family medicine doctor. Be sure to make the best choice for your medical concerns so that we can provide you with the best possible care.
Other Important Information
At Southside Medical Center, we believe in patient-centered care, and that means we prioritize your health over everything else. With that in mind, you should know that we see patients of all insurance statuses and financial backgrounds. It is our goal to provide quality medicine to as many patients as we can, and we take great pride in being able to work with patients to provide care. We work with patients who have insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, and the uninsured. We can work with you on a sliding scale fee based on your income status, and you might be eligible for programs that lower your co-pay fee. Be sure to bring your current photo ID, insurance card, or other specified documents to your appointment. We value the opportunity to treat all patients. If you are interested in adult medicine services at Southside Medical Center in Atlanta, GA, contact our office to schedule your consultation today. Our providers are excited to give you the personalized care and guidance you need to lead a healthy lifestyle.