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…
Reasons You May See a Pulmonologist
A pulmonologist works in the field of pulmonary medicine. That means a pulmonologist helps patients with a broad range of respiratory problems. Sometimes, patients may have an infection that makes it difficult for them to breathe. Other cases involve people with lung cancer. Regardless, an individual needs a firm diagnosis and proper treatment.
Something else to know about a pulmonologist is that this doctor focuses on different categories of respiratory problems, including those that are infectious, inflammatory, autoimmune, structural and neoplastic. As such, pulmonologists can help patients with all kinds of issues relating to the pulmonary system.
Examples of respiratory problems
Below are a few examples of when someone needs to schedule an appointment with a pulmonologist.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is among the most common reasons for someone to see a pulmonologist. In most cases, this disease is the result of smoking. What makes it somewhat challenging is that for many patients, the symptoms do not appear for years after the onset of the disease. That means by the time an individual goes to a doctor, there is already a significant issue.
Because smoking is the primary reason for developing COPD, this respiratory problem is often seen in older patients, those 60 and above. However, there are also sufferers in their 30s and 40s. The first thing that the pulmonologist will suggest is for the patient to quit smoking. Only then can the doctor bring the symptoms under control. Two treatments that work well include pulmonary rehabilitation and bronchodilator therapy.
2. Cystic fibrosis
Having cystic fibrosis is another reason to see a pulmonologist. Unlike COPD, which typically develops because of someone’s smoking habit, this lung disease is caused by a defective gene. With this, mucus forms and leads to repeat dangerous infections of the lungs. Also, this condition can cause obstructions to form in the pancreas. Currently, 30,000 people in the United States have cystic fibrosis, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
People with this respiratory illness experience chronic coughing and frequent lung infections. They also have skin that tastes like salt, and in children, it can cause slow growth. Those with this condition can also have bronchiectasis.
Patients can see a pulmonologist for this disease as well. With bronchiectasis, the bronchial tubes develop abnormally. Patients can experience infections of the respiratory tract, shortness of breath and wheezing. Although anyone can develop bronchiectasis, it typically impacts more women than men and usually starts later in life.
Get the help you need
For these and other pulmonary issues, it is important to see a pulmonologist. That doctor will run the necessary tests to make a diagnosis. Based on the findings, the pulmonologist will create a treatment plant on a patient-by-patient basis. When a respiratory problem affects kids, parents need to take quick action.
If a child begins showing signs of a lung infection, illness or disease, they need to see their pediatrician. From there, the doctor may refer them to a pulmonologist to ensure they receive the required treatment. Paying attention to early warning signs is imperative. The sooner they see a doctor, the better the outcome.
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