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Trending Internal Medicine Topics for the Modern Health Practitioner

Internal medicine and primary care comprise the backbone of the US healthcare system. Qualified to treat a broad range of illnesses and injuries, internists and their family medicine colleagues work with patients over the long term to monitor health and manage chronic disorders. The internist is in a prime position to apply a range of medical skills in the areas of mental health, weight management and sports medicine, among others. Practitioners can therefore benefit from internal medicine CME which delves into these internal medicine topics in a way that’s applicable to their medical practice.

Mental Health

While they have long been informally on the frontlines of mental health care in the US, internal medicine, primary care and family medicine providers are taking on a bigger role. Internal medicine providers are in a position to deliver quality and comprehensive mental healthcare due to their relationships with patients, a fact healthcare policymakers are fully embracing. This trend can’t come at a better time, with mental health disorders at record levels.

As such, internists require a deeper acquaintance with mental health topics, such as adult ADHD, major depressive disorder (MDD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Providers with a deeper understanding of their patient’s mental health also have the opportunity to treat the mental and behavioral barriers to a patient’s healthier living. Continuing medical education (CME) is a go-to source of the latest information and can build on mental health knowledge acquired in medical school. CME conferences can also be a great forum for discussing mental health topics among peers.

Headache Disorders

Headache disorders have long perplexed the medical community. In recent years, more attention and funding have been paid to this set of conditions, resulting in higher awareness and new treatments for suffering patients. Cluster, tension and migraine headaches are all common and potentially debilitating if not properly treated; however, the appropriate treatment depends largely on the type of headache. Diagnosis and treatment can sometimes take time and experimentation. Fortunately, new tools are becoming available for doctors to diagnose headaches. New headache subtypes are also being identified, with some indicating serious underlying medical disorders.

These factors make headaches an important area of study for internal medicine and family medicine providers who can use CME as one outlet to do so. Headaches can be the primary focus of an educative experience or integrated within a broader curriculum. Providers should be exposed to a wide variety of headache information for a more complete perspective on this important issue.

Obesity and Weight Management

Obesity and weight-related health issues are among the most important in the US. They are the root cause of many of the most common diseases and reflect a population that isn’t eating right, exercising enough or managing stress well. Weight management and obesity-related medical conditions—such as imbalanced blood lipids, diabetes and other metabolic disorders like hypertension—are as complex as they are serious as factors in the leading cause of death in the US: chronic heart disease. Each patient has their own predispositions and dietary requirements. Therefore, internal medicine providers are in a prime position to aid their patients in the long-term care weight management often requires. Exciting advancements are being made in the perspectives and treatments of weight management-related healthcare such as medications and personalized approaches often required by patients who find it difficult to lose weight.

Sports Medicine

Once an area of medicine reserved for athletes, sports medicine perspectives are now being applied in primary care and family medicine practices. As the US population ages, and the emphasis on exercise as a primary driver of healthspan and lifespan continues to grow, more patients will need sports medicine treatment. Treatment that helps them stay active so they can manage their weight, stay healthier and improve their quality of life by doing more of what they love is more important to patients than ever.

Topics in modern sports medicine include pediatric, adolescent and geriatric sports medicine. Adult acute and chronic sports injury care will become a bigger part of internal medicine and primary care practices, especially as current orthopedic doctors leave the workforce in the coming decades. Some sports medicine topics covered in conferences are arthritis treatment, orthobiologics and exercise as medicine. These topics represent the latest in sports medicine perspectives for the internal medicine practitioner.