08 11 2022

If you have been keeping up with our updates, you should have gotten a grasp of what internal medicine and Internists are about. Regardless, there's no harm in emphasizing. Internal medicine is a branch of medicine committed to dealing with health conditions affecting adults. Like other branches of medicine, internal medicine has subspecialties, some of which are still emerging and have varying popularity depending on the region. In Nigeria the more common ones are:

  1. Cardiology
  2. Nephrology
  3. Pulmonology
  4. Gastroenterology
  5. Infectious diseases
  6. Rheumatology
  7. Endocrinology
  8. Neurology
  9. Dermatology

Others are Allergy and Immunology, Geriatrics, Sleep medicine, Sports medicine, Adolescent Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Haematology.


As the name implies, this is the branch of internal medicine concerned with acute and chronic cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, etc. The Cardiology specialist is called a Cardiologist.


This subspecialty is responsible for diagnosing and managing disorders of the kidney. A doctor who has completed a residency in Nephrology is called a Nephrologist.


Pulmonary tuberculosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other respiratory diseases are diagnosed and treated by the Pulmonologist.


Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and pancreas such as hepatitis, reflux diseases, pancreatitis, GI bleeding, etc., are studied, diagnosed, and managed in Gastroenterology. As with others, the doctors who specialize here form their names by removing "y" and adding the suffix "-ist."


Infectious disease specialists are concerned with diagnosing and managing contagious diseases such as COVID-19, Viral hemorrhagic fevers (VHF), HIV/AIDS, etc.


This branch of internal medicine is charged with diagnosing and treating diseases of the bones, muscles, joints, and connective tissue such as arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, etc. Specialists are referred to as Rheumatologists.


If the health conditions result from dysregulation of hormones produced by endocrine glands like the pancreas, pituitary glands, thyroid glands, adrenal glands, etc. Such health conditions include Diabetes, Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Cushing's disease, gigantism, dwarfism, etc. Specialists are called Endocrinologists.


Neurology is concerned with the medical management of nervous system disorders such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, myasthenia gravis, etc. One who specializes in Neurology is referred to as a Neurologist.


Dermatologists are responsible for diagnosing and treating skin conditions as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Examples of the conditions they manage include Atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne, albinism, lichen planus, etc.



This specialty is responsible for handling the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions that affect the human immune system such as hay fever, asthma, etc. The doctors in this field are referred to as Allergists/Immunologists.


This is a branch of medicine that deals specifically with health conditions that affect elderly people such as arthritis, osteoporosis, dementia, parkinsonism, etc. Specialists are referred to as Geriatricians.


This subspecialty of medicine is committed to diagnosing and treating sleep disturbances and other sleep-related disorders such as insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, etc. The specialist is called a sleep medicine doctor.


Sports medicine takes over when it comes to injuries or illnesses affecting athletics and physical fitness. The sports medicine physician, upon evaluation of their charges, decides when to refer for surgical management or prescribe medical treatment.


Adolescent medicine is focused on ensuring the physical, psychological, social, and sexual well-being of adolescents and young adults since this period of transition often comes with a lot of challenges. These physicians are simply called Adolescent medicine doctors.


This specialty is responsible for preventing, diagnosing, and treating disorders affecting the blood, bone marrow, and immunologic, hemostatic, and vascular systems. Such conditions include hemoglobinopathies (sickle cell anemia, Thalassemia), anemias, and cancers affecting the blood and bone marrow (multiple myeloma, leukemia, etc).


This branch of internal medicine handles the diagnosis and the medical management of cancer. Specialists are referred to as Oncologists. In many Nigerian centers though, oncology is usually a part of the surgery.

Now you know who is who in internal medicine. Stay glued to this site for more information on other subspecialties in medicine and health.

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