A pulmonologist is a sort of specialist you may be sent to if you’re looking for a diagnosis for a lung ailment, or you’ve finally worked out why you’re having trouble breathing. But what do they treat? Who do they help? How can they assist you? Here is everything you need to know about this career.
What Is a Pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist is a type of doctor who diagnoses and treats diseases relating to the respiratory system, which includes the lungs and other organs that help you breathe. For certain relatively short-term lung diseases, such as the flu or pneumonia, your normal doctor may be able to provide all the treatment you require. However, if your cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms do not improve, you should consult a pulmonologist immediately before they get worse. You may not know it, but a pulmonologist greatly differs from an intensivist or any other specialist working in the ICU. They are an important part of the team as well as the hospital, just like other physicians.
Education and Training
Pulmonology is a medical specialty within the discipline of internal medicine. These doctors get the same training as internists. A four-year college degree is required to become a pulmonologist. You must next complete a four-year medical school program. After that, you must finish a three-year internal medicine residency, followed by many years as a fellow specializing in pulmonology, which typically includes critical care and sleep medicine. This enables you to receive further specialist pulmonology training. After completing your fellowship, you must pass a specialized board certification test to freely practice medicine.
Conditions Pulmonologist Treats
While the respiratory system is a specialty in and of itself, pulmonologists might further specialize. Some of these specialists specialize in certain illnesses, such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, tuberculosis, bronchitis, and COPD, while others handle specific populations, such as pediatric or geriatric patients.
Because many lung and cardiac diseases have similar symptoms, pulmonologists frequently collaborate with cardiologists when diagnosing patients. They are also commonly seen in hospital settings. Patients who require life support or mechanical ventilation to breathe will have a pulmonologist monitoring that aspect of their treatment.
How a Pulmonologist Can Help You
A pulmonologist helps patients who have significant or persistent breathing difficulties. While primary care doctors can treat minor or short-term diseases like a cold or respiratory infection, you’ll need to see a pulmonologist to diagnose, treat, and manage more severe disorders that damage the lungs.
If you have a respiratory ailment, the first step is to get a proper diagnosis. Spirometry, blood work, chest X-rays, CT scans, bronchoscopies, and sleep tests are all used by pulmonologists to diagnose chronic lung illness. Even if you have already done these tests, your pulmonologist may request that you repeat them to validate the results.
A pulmonologist will develop a treatment plan for you once you have been diagnosed. If surgery is required, it will most likely be performed by a surgeon who specializes in the heart and lungs. A pulmonologist will also utilize medicines, treatments, and pulmonary rehabilitation to help you recover from your illness.
For lung-related illnesses, there’s no other type of doctor better than a pulmonologist. While it might still take time to get a proper diagnosis, and longer yet for therapies to take effect, you can always trust in these highly educated experts as your well-being is their first concern.