A pulmonologist is a doctor who has expertise in the human respiratory system and helps people in diagnosing and treating problems related to lungs and other breathing-related organs. A pulmonologist is also known as a breathing specialist and lungs related doctor.
Health problems like flu or pneumonia can be cured by taking the help of a regular doctor. But you need the assistance of a pulmonologist doctor when your symptoms related to the lungs persist for a long time and you start having problems taking normal breaths. To find one, just search for a pulmonologist near me and you will get a list of breathing specialists you can consult to.
What is pulmonology?
Pulmonology is the branch of medical care that deals with the respiratory system and any problem related to it. If you find a lungs doctors near me, he or she must have done a degree in pulmonology. Pulmonology focuses on the following organs:
- Throat (also called pharynx)
- Voicebox (also called larynx)
- Windpipe (also called trachea)
- Bronchial tubes
- Lungs and their parts such as bronchioles and alveoli
What Medical Conditions Can Pulmonology Doctors Treat?
As mentioned earlier, a pulmonologist can treat almost all problems related to the respiratory system. Here is a list of some major medical conditions that a pulmonologist can help you withs:
- AsthmaIt is a disease that causes inflammation and narrows your airways. Pulmonologist asthma is one of the most common diseases which causes problems in breathing.
- Lung cancerGenerally, people who regularly smoke develop lung cancer. It starts with the lungs and can spread to other body parts. Apart from smoking, there are many other causes of lung cancer such as family history, exposure to toxins and second-hand smoke, etc.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)COPD is a group of lung diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. These diseases can block the airflow and pose difficulty in breathing.
- TuberculosisThere are many types of tuberculosis; among these types, one type affects your lungs. It is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. The most common symptoms of this disease are cough with mucus and blood, sudden weight loss, chills, fever, etc.
- Cystic fibrosisIt is a life-threatening disorder that gets developed by changes in your genes. It mainly affects the cells that are responsible for the production of sweat, digestive juices and mucus.
- BronchitisBronchitis is a condition in which inflammation of bronchi happens in your lungs. Shortness of breath, chest pain, and wheezing are the main symptoms of this condition.
- EmphysemaIt is a common lung condition that leads to breath shortness. The air sacs in the lungs, also called alveoli, get damaged in emphysema.
- Obstructive sleep apneaIn this condition, repeated pauses happen in breathing while you sleep. Obese people are most likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. If not treated at the right time, obstructive sleep apnea can prove to be fatal.
- Pulmonary hypertensionYour blood pressure gets increased in the arteries in this condition. The most common symptoms of pulmonary hypertension are tiredness, chest pain, fast heart beat, and shortness of breath.
- COVID-19Lungs get affected the most by the virus causing COVID-19. And since pulmonologists have the expertise on problems related to the lungs, they play a major role in treating the infected patient.
What Test Do Pulmonology Doctors Take to Diagnose Lung Diseases?
After analysing your symptoms, a breathing specialist can suggest you having a number of tests to diagnose the problem. Here is a list of tests that a pulmonologist doctor might ask you to get done the following tests:
- X-raysIn this pulmonology test, X-ray beams are passed through your test to make images of your lungs and other related body parts.
- Blood testsThe levels of oxygen and a few other vitals can be checked by blood tests.
- SpirometryThis is a simple pulmonology test that can measure the capacity of the lungs to breathe air in and out.
- BronchoscopyTo see the inside area of your lungs, a very thin tube with a camera attached to its one end is inserted in your airways through the nose or mouth.
- CT scanTo get even clearer pictures of the inside of your chest. This pulmonology test gives images from different angles which helps in diagnosing the condition.
When should you see a pulmonologist?
If required, a pulmonologist can also do special procedures. Here is a list of some procedures that a pulmonologist has the expertise to perform:
- BiopsyIn this procedure, your tissue sample is taken for diagnosis.
- Pulmonary hygiene
This is done to clean the mucus and fluid from the lungs.
- BronchoscopyAs mentioned earlier, bronchoscopy involves putting a thin tube in your airways to diagnose the problem.
- Airway ablationTo solve difficult breathing, blocked air passages are opened with this procedure.
When should you see a pulmonologist?
If you are experiencing only mild symptoms, you don’t need to find a pulmonologist near me straight. First, you should consult a primary care doctor. After a full body health checkup, the primary care doctor will either start your treatment or will refer you to a pulmonologist. Usually, seeing a pulmonologist near me is advised if you are experiencing the following symptoms:
- Severe cough
- Pain in chest
- Unexplained weight loss
- Trouble breathing
- Trouble exercising
- Severe tiredness
- Frequent col
Where to Find A Pulmonologist?
In most of the cases, a primary care doctor refers people to see a pulmonologist. Finding a pulmonologist should not be a problem in such a case. However, it is not mandatory to see a primary care doctor first. If you think that your problem is related to breathing, lungs, and chest, you can directly go to a lungs related doctor.
With the advent of the internet, it has become very easy to consult a lungs related doctor. Just search the best chest specialist near me on the internet you will find a list of pulmonologists near you. Once you decide which pulmonologist to consult with, you can go to the clinic or hospital. Or you can also take online consultation. The process of finding a pulmonologist for online consultation is somewhat similar to offline consultation. Just search the best chest specialist near me on the internet and you will find a number of health care services providers in the results list. There, you can consult a doctor without going to the clinic.
What To Expect During a Visit?
Your job doesn’t end on just finding a lungs doctors near me. You also have to prepare yourself for the visit. During the visit, the pulmonologist doctor will first ask you a few questions about your symptoms. Then, a physical examination will be done. Typically, a physical examination involves taking deep breaths so that the lungs related doctor can check your lung capacity and the amount of mucus filled in your chest.
If required, you might also be suggested to get a few diagnostic tests done. The list of diagnostic tests is already mentioned above. After analysing the results of the diagnosis, the doctor will then start your treatment procedure.