People dealing with asthma-related issues, tuberculosis, bronchitis and pneumonia that fall in the chronic category are often in need of a specialist. That specialist is a pulmonary physician. Pulmonologists, or pulmonary specialists, are physicians who study and treat diseases of the lungs, airways and chest, care for the very sick in critical care units, and are even medically equipped to handle sleep disorders.
Usually pulmonary specialists collaborate with your primary care provider and, depending on your ailment, are often part of a comprehensive team that may include everything from a cardiologist to an oncologist.
Why would you want to seek out a pulmonary doctor?
Here are five reasons why it might be in your best interest.
1. If there are abnormalities in you lungs that make it difficult to exhale normally.
Excessive inflammatory processes eventually lead to these abnormalities in the lung’s structure that permanently obstruct airflow. Two common conditions leading to COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Signs related to this include:
- Chest pain, usually in the front of the chest.
- Leg swelling
- Lightheadedness during exercise
- Shortness of breath during activity
2. A bad cough. It can be acute or chronic. Some of the more common causes of acute cough is respiratory infections. Chronic cough lasts for more than three weeks and may actually be a significant health problem.
3. Asthma. While this may be the most common chronic disease in children, it also affects a number of adults. This is a condition in which the bronchial tubes in the lungs react to stimuli and become inflamed. Shortness of breath is one of the symptoms it produces. Others include coughing, wheezing, and tightness in the chest.
4. Lung cancer. Tumors form when cells divide too much and too fast. If that tumor is confined and does not invade surrounding tissues or organs, it is benign. If it spreads to surrounding tissues or organs, it is considered malignant, or cancerous. With lung cancer, patients are generally advised to see a pulmonologist to evaluate lung problems that you have in addition to the cancer. This evaluates your lung function prior to surgery, or to treat lung symptoms you may have as a result of lung cancer surgery.
5. Breathing problems. Having difficulty breathing can be a sign of a serious lung condition. Pulmonologists would be able to evaluate you and make sure you are not facing a more serious health problem.
Remember to check with your doctor before taking any treatment or medical remedy.