The Internal Medicine Department regroups doctors who deal with the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases and disorders in adults such as internists, rheumatologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, endocrinologists and psychiatrists.
Internists and specialists provide consultations at the Medical Centre located on the second floor of the V building. Patients who need admission are hospitalised in the Medical Ward located on the 4th floor of the F building.
Internists diagnose and manage diseases involving any of the organ systems and are equipped to deal with whatever problem a patient has – no matter how common or rare, or, how simple or complex.
They are specially trained to recognise and manage a broad range of diseases – from infectious diseases to autoimmune conditions; to manage seriously ill patients suffering from multiple disorders; to solve puzzling diagnostic problems; and to handle severe chronic illnesses and situations where several different illnesses may strike at the same time.
- Rheumatologists diagnose and manage musculoskeletal diseases and systemic autoimmune conditions commonly referred to as rheumatic diseases. These conditions can affect the joints, muscles and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity.
- They treat joint disease similar to orthopaedists but do not perform surgery. Common diseases treated by rheumatologists include osteoarthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, tendinitis, and osteoporosis.
- Rheumatologists also diagnose and manage autoimmune conditions such as lupus, systemic sclerosis, and dermatomyositis, which occur when the immune system sends inflammation to areas of the body when it is not needed causing damage or other symptoms. These diseases can affect joints as well as the eyes, skin, nervous system and internal organs.
- Neurology is the scientific study of the nervous system and the diseases that affect it. The nervous system is made of two parts: the central system, which includes the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral system which include all nerves.
- The neurologist specialises in all diseases and conditions affecting the nervous system, particularly diseases that directly target the central nervous system. These include conditions in the region of the brain or spinal cord, such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, forms of dementia like Alzheimer’s disease, brain haemorrhage, or a brain or medullary tumour (affecting the spinal cord). Neurologists also specialise in the diagnosis and management of chronic headaches and sleep disorders.
- Neurologists also investigate diseases of the peripheral nervous system, notably in cases of diabetes that have evolved into diabetic neuropathy, but also numerous other conditions that can cause nerve and muscle damage.
- Neurologists can perform Nerve Conduction Studies (NCS) that are tests which look to see how well a patient’s nerves are working, and Electromyography (EMG) which observe how well a patient’s muscles are working. These tests provide specific information about the extent of nerve and/or muscle disorders and can also determine the exact location of the problem which gives some indication on whether the damage is reversible.
Pulmonology (Respiratory Medicine)
- Pulmonology entails the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, conditions, and abnormalities of the chest and the lungs.
- Pulmonologists diagnose and manage lung conditions and diseases such as lung cancer, asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonology Disease (COPD), tuberculosis, emphysema, pneumonia, and may also specialise in some treatment of sleep disorders and severe allergies.
- They also perform pulmonary function testing, fiberoptic bronchoscopy and intensive care consultation for critically ill patients who require ventilator support.
The nephrologist deals with the diagnosis and management of non-surgical kidney diseases and disorders. The kidneys are vital for maintaining normal fluid and electrolyte balance in the body.
The conditions treated by these specialists include acute renal failure, fluid and electrolyte disorders, renal complications of high blood pressure, diabetes and infections, haematuria (blood in the urine), proteinuria (protein in the urine), chronic renal failure, end-stage renal disease, and dialysis.
Endocrinology & Diabetology
Endocrinology is the study of hormones and the treatment of hormone based diseases. The endocrine glands produce chemicals called hormones. These hormones are released into the blood stream and exert their action by stimulating other organs in the body. The major endocrine glands are the thyroid, pancreas, parathyroid, adrenal, gonad and pituitary. The hormones from these glands regulate growth, metabolism, blood pressure, reproduction as well as many other necessary functions.
An endocrinologist specialises in diseases that are caused by problems with hormones including diabetes, hypo and hyperthyroidism, thyroid nodules and goitre, hyperparathyroidism, cholesterol and lipid disorders, obesity, osteoporosis, adrenal disorders like Addison’s disease and Cushing’s Syndrome, growth problems, precocious puberty, disorders of menopause, etc.
Psychiatrists are devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. These include depression, phobias, personality disorders, schizophrenia, paranoia, eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia), drug and alcohol addictions, and some sleep disorders.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors, unlike psychologists, and must evaluate patients to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental ailments, or strictly psychiatric.
Psychiatrists can prescribe medication, which psychologists cannot do.