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    Know Your Pulmonologist

    Your respiratory health is extremely crucial for living a wholesome life. A pulmonologist, often referred to as the lung specialist, can provide care and management specifically for a wide range of respiratory disorders, including asthma, pneumonia, and sleep-related breathing disorders. During a pulmonologist (chest specialist) consultation, you can expect diagnosis and treatment for respiratory disorders.Read on to learn more about the common lung ailments and the role of pulmonologists in our healthcare.

    Who is a pulmonologist? What do they do?

    The doctor who specialises in pulmonology is called a pulmonologist. Pulmonology is a branch of medicine related to the study of the respiratory system and diagnosing and treating any respiratory disorders. Pulmonologists are also called lung specialists and treat respiratory disorders associated with infections, structural deformities, inflammations, tumours, or autoimmune diseases (such as allergies) of the lungs and airways.

    Pulmonologists may not perform surgeries unless necessary; their usual treatment approach involves prescribing appropriate medication and other therapies. In order to correctly diagnose your condition, they may ask you to undergo several tests such as the following:

    a. Chest fluoroscopy or ultrasound to check the functioning of lungs

    b. Pulse oximetry to check blood oxygen concentration levels

    c. Sputum culture to detect infection due to bacteria or fungi in lungs

    d. Bronchoscopy to determine issues in the throat, trachea, or the lower airways

    When you go for a pulmonologist consultation with these test reports, the doctor may recommend procedures, such as thoracentesis, to remove fluid from the lungs depending on your condition.

    A general physician might recommend you to visit a chest specialist (pulmonologist consultant) for special care. Both these doctors, your general physician and pulmonologist, may also end up working together on your case if need be.

    When should you consult a pulmonologist?

    Usually, people consult a pulmonologist after being referred to one by an acquaintance or their general physician (or other doctor) as most people are not aware of the pulmonology field. However, people who know the discipline and are facing any issues with their respiratory functions may approach the pulmonologist (also known as the lung doctor).

    You can also consult a pulmonologist online if:

    • You are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or excessive coughing
    • You are at a risk of/diagnosed with chronic respiratory illnesses, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or bronchitis
    • You have a family history of respiratory diseases and wish to prevent being affected
    • You are a smoker and need guidance to quit.

    You can also visit the lung specialist for regular annual or bi-yearly check-ups. If you are unsure of your health problems, it is always better to ask a general physician or your family doctor first. By doing this, you can be sure whether you need a chest specialist online consultation or a visit to another expert.

    Common lung diseases and treatment

    Here’s a list of some of the most common respiratory diseases:

    •  Asthma: This is a chronic condition that causes inflammation of airways causing them to swell and reduce in size; symptoms include wheezing, coughing, and difficulty in breathing. The pulmonologist may prescribe a combination of drugs and ask you to avoid triggers such as irritants and allergens (for example, dust and pollution).
    • COPD: A group of chronic respiratory diseases that include chronic bronchitis and emphysema, COPD causes persistent coughs and difficulty in breathing. The treatment for COPD may also include oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehabilitation along with prescription drugs.
    • Pneumonia: It is a moderate-to-severe infection of the lungs that entails fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Your chest specialist will likely prescribe antibiotics for speedy recovery. In severe cases, it can be life-threatening and requires emergency medical care.
    • Tuberculosis: This respiratory disease is caused by a bacterial infection (diagnosed with the help of sputum culture), which primarily affects the lungs. The symptoms of tuberculosis (or TB) include coughing, fever, and weight loss. Treatment for this chronic illness includes a long-term care plan with antibiotics.
    • Lung cancer: A type of cancer that affects the lungs and causes symptoms such as persistent cough, chronic pain in chest and bones, and the shortness of breath. The treatment plan, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, for lung cancer depends on the stage of cancer. This is a life-threatening disease that causes deaths. When you consult a pulmonologist, they might prescribe medications and recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to let you maintain your lung health.

    Where can you find a pulmonologist?

    You can find a pulmonologist for diagnosing and managing your respiratory health on multiple platforms. Many hospitals also have a dedicated team of pulmonologists who provide in-patient and out-patient care to people suffering from respiratory ailments. You can request a referral from your general physician to a pulmonologist nearby. Many pulmonologists also have personal practice and specialise in respiratory care. You can search online on Google Maps to find nearby pulmonologists (chest specialist) in your area.

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    Disclaimer : Livlong 365 is not an insurance company. We are a healthcare company who partners directly with health & wellness service providers that guarantee services to our members.