A pulmonologist is a doctor who focuses on the respiratory system. These doctors can diagnose and treat a variety of lung diseases. Lung disease may refer to different types of disorders or diseases that prevent the lungs from working properly. If you have any problems that involve the lungs, seeing a pulmonologist is highly recommended.There…
Common Respiratory Conditions Seen by Pulmonologists
If you struggle with a respiratory issue, it is important to seek help from a pulmonologist. This doctor focuses on anything that affects the respiratory system. Pulmonologists first make a diagnosis, followed by recommending a viable treatment option for their patients. Because they work in the field of pulmonary medicine, they treat many different respiratory problems, including:
- Neoplastic (involves a tumor)
When to see the doctor
A primary physician will usually recommend a patient to a pulmonologist. The following are the most common types of conditions, illnesses and diseases that they diagnose and treat.
With this chronic lung problem, people have a hard time breathing due to an inflamed airway. The triggers can include tobacco smoke, pet dander, cold air and stress. Along with trouble breathing, a person experiences tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing. Most often, this respiratory issue starts in childhood, although it can develop much later in life.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is also treated by a pulmonologist. In the COPD category are several different kinds of respiratory illnesses. They all include difficulty exhaling and excessive breathlessness. A person can have this respiratory disease for many years without showing any symptoms.
Once symptoms begin, they include coughing up mucus and shortness of breath. COPD can develop in someone as young as 30 and as old as 70. The primary cause is smoking tobacco. The pulmonologist can offer several treatments, including bronchodilator therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation. Of course, the patient should also stop smoking.
3. Chronic bronchitis
As one of the forms of COPD, this respiratory condition shares most of the same symptoms. In fact, a pulmonologist can treat it in much the same way. Instead of this being a long-term disease, it is an infection. For that reason, the doctor would also prescribe antibiotic medication.
When it comes to respiratory problems, emphysema is quite serious. This, too, is a form of COPD and usually the result of smoking. Although a pulmonologist can make a patient’s life better to some degree, this is a progressive and incurable disease. If an individual stops smoking, there is a chance of slowing the evolution of this respiratory illness.
5. Lung cancer
A pulmonologist also diagnoses and treats patients with lung cancer. Although this typically develops close to the air sacs inside the lungs, doctors can find it in places more difficult to detect. The other challenge is that cancer can mutate, meaning that the irregular cells multiply. They then produce an uncontrolled amount of abnormal cells, otherwise known as a tumor.
Depending on the severity of cancer, a pulmonologist will determine the right treatment. In the worst cases, this leads to the removal of the lung.
6. Additional respiratory conditions
Apart from the conditions listed above, a pulmonologist also sees patients with pulmonary fibrosis, pleural effusion, cystic fibrosis and pneumonia. Before needing treatment, people should take the necessary preventative measures. A perfect example is to never smoke.
If you or someone you love has any one of the conditions mentioned, it is essential that you book an appointment to see a pulmonologist.
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