What is a Pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist also known as a pulmonary doctor, pulmonary specialist, or lungs specialist, is a medical doctor who specializes in the field of pulmonology, which is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions related to the respiratory system. The respiratory system includes the lungs, bronchial tubes, trachea, and other structures involved in breathing. Pulmonologists are concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of a broad range of respiratory conditions and diseases.
What is the difference between a lung doctor and a pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist treats and diagnoses respiratory illnesses. These medical professionals may be referred to as chest doctors, lung specialists, or lung doctors. Your respiratory system, in addition to your lungs, consists of your nose, throat, trachea, airways, muscles, and blood vessels.
Which is the most common pulmonary disease?
Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the two most prevalent chronic respiratory illnesses. Both of these have an effect on the lungs’ airways. Due to airway narrowing, asthma is characterized by repeated symptoms of dyspnea and wheezing that vary in intensity and frequency from person to person.
Is pulmonary lung disease treatable?
Although there is no cure for COPD, disease management can lessen symptoms, decrease the illness’s course, and help you avoid the hospital. The goal of treatment is to stop more injury, lessen the chance of consequences, and lessen some of the symptoms. Medications, oxygen therapy, and pulmonary rehabilitation are available as treatments.
What Respiratory Disorders does a Pulmonologist treat?
A Pulmonary doctor specializes in:
- Infectious diseases
- Structural abnormalities
- Inflammatory issues
- Neoplastic (tumors)
- Autoimmune disorders
- And more…
Lung conditions often present in such a way that they mimic other conditions such as heart issues. As such, pulmonologists often work in conjunction with cardiologists when coming up with a proper diagnosis.
What Types of Pulmonary Specialties are There?
Pulmonology is a complex discipline that often requires further specialization in order to provide superior treatment and care.
Subspecialties of Pulmonology Include:
- Interstitial lung disease – dealing with diseases of the lungs marked by chronic inflammation and scar tissue
- Interventional pulmonology –takes a multidisciplinary approach to treat those disorders affecting the airway (such as pleural diseases and lung cancer).
- Lung transplantation – preoperative and postoperative support and care
- Neuromuscular disease – deals with those conditions brought about as a result of respiratory muscle failure
- Obstructive – this specialty involves those conditions where the airway is narrowed or obstructed
- sleep-Disordered Breathing – a multidisciplinary specialty that deals with breathing disorders that are connected to sleep disorders.
What conditions are the pulmonologists capable of treating
Pulmonary doctors are experienced and well-equipped to treat a broad range of pulmonary disorders including but not limited to:
- Shortness of breath
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD)
- Pleural effusion
- Allergic rhinitis
- Lung cancer screening
- Lung cancer
- Lung nodules
- Interstitial lung disease
- Hypoxia (low oxygen levels)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Occupational lung disease
- Preoperative pulmonary clearance
- Pre-employment pulmonary evaluation
How can a Pulmonologist Help?
Pulmonologists help patients who are facing chronic, debilitating and often serious breathing problems. Although primary care physicians are often a good option for short term conditions such as respiratory infections and even asthma, they are not well equipped or trained to handle serious and often complex lung conditions.
If you or a loved one has been suffering from respiratory problems, an accurate diagnosis is the first step, and our highly trained and experienced pulmonary specialists are the team to help. Once a diagnosis has been determined, your pulmonary doctor will create a tailored treatment plan just for you.
When is Seeing a Pulmonologist Appropriate?
Simple coughs, allergies and non-life threatening or chronic conditions should generally be treated or examined first by either your primary care physician or urgent care.
However, if you are experiencing chronic, worsening or persistent respiratory issues it may be time to see one of our pulmonologists for assistance.
Below are some common symptoms that may be indicative of pulmonary issues:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chest pain or tightness
- Lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting
- Difficulty breathing (especially during physical activities)
- Uncontrolled asthma
- And more…
How do Pulmonary Doctors Diagnose Disorders?
A Pulmonologist will talk you step by step through the process and what to expect, making sure you are comfortable at every step of the way.
Their first objective will be to begin the diagnostic process with a thorough review of your medical and family history, with a special focus on any diseases that affect the lungs (such as cystic fibrosis). They will also take into consideration environmental exposures such as air quality or pollution concerns in the workplace.
After a full understanding of family history, environmental exposure and symptoms have been obtained, your pulmonary doctor will likely perform a physical exam in order to potentially uncover other disorders or issues that may be contributing to your pulmonary complaints.
It is not uncommon for pulmonologist to work in concert with other specialists on your case (such as cardiologists) in order to obtain a complete and accurate diagnostic picture of the state of your lungs.
What Types of Tests will I Need to Have?
Your pulmonologist may recommend a number of tests based on the results of your initial consultation, history, symptoms and physical exam.
Tests that may be Used to Diagnose Pulmonary Disorders Include:
- Blood tests
- Pulmonary function tests
- Chest X-rays
- Spirometry of maximum airflow
- CT scan
- Sleep Studies (polysomnography)
Why Choose NOVA Pulmonary?
Our Vienna based team is dedicated to the practice of pulmonology and helping improve the lives of our patients. Our talented physicians and medical staff are both caring and knowledgeable, ready to use the latest and best technology and approaches for diagnosis, treatment and care.
Click here or reach out to us today to learn more about our clinic, learn about our sleep doctors, and why so many Dulles, VA residents trust us to care for them and their families.