You might know that one of the most common pulmonary diseases is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, do you know prevalent it is? It has been estimated that 384 million people suffer from COPD. The statistics state about only one pulmonary ailment out of numerous more.
So how do you prevent them?
The answer is simple: by looking for a pulmonologist near me in Michigan. Such specialists are proficient in treating respiratory diseases and offer comprehensive treatment strategies.
What is a pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist is a physician who specializes in pulmonary medicine. They deal with the diagnosis, treatment, management, and mitigation of diseases related to the pulmonary system. The latter includes the organs and muscles that are involved in the respiration process, such as the mouth, nose, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchial tubes, lungs, and diaphragm. In the lungs, structures such as bronchioles and alveoli hold significant importance in pulmonary medicine. It is because, the minuscule structures are primarily targeted by various chronic pulmonary diseases such as asthma, emphysema, and Bronchiectasis.
To become a pulmonologist, physicians complete their three-year residency program in internal medicine, after finishing medical school. The residency takes place in a hospital setting and helps the physician in gaining sufficient clinical expertise. After the residency program, the board-certified internist finishes their fellowship in pulmonary medicine. The physician is also required to clear specialty exams to achieve board certification in pulmonology. Additional training in pulmonology is in specific diseases or particular age demographics.
How Does a Pulmonologist Help You?
A pulmonologist provides care for both acute and chronic breathing issues. However, it is recommended to see a primary care provider for mild conditions that demand short-term management like cold or respiratory infections. Such pulmonary concerns are well managed by primary physicians.
However, for severe medical circumstances, you should visit a pulmonologist. You will also be referred to one by your primary physician if your prognosis worsens. The first step to managing such complicated pulmonary conditions is to make a correct diagnosis. The pulmonologist employs various diagnostic procedures such as spirometry, blood tests, chest X-rays, and bronchoscopies.
What follows diagnosis is a comprehensive treatment strategy. The treatment objective includes both pharmaceutical and lifestyle strategies. In case when the patient requires surgery, a surgeon is taken on board. However, primarily the treatment plan involves medications, therapy, and/or pulmonary rehabilitation to assure pulmonary wellness.
Since most pulmonary diseases need debilitating and long-term care, pulmonologists provide care synergistically with other specialists. They harmonize care and assure that the treatment plan advances appropriately.
What can you expect during your visit to a pulmonologist?
If you are visiting a pulmonologist for the first time, you’d be required to provide your medical history. You will then be taken for physical examination and monitored for your vitals. During this period, you can discuss your symptoms, their severity, and frequency with the physician. We would recommend you note down your complaints and symptoms on a piece of paper for a much more detailed discussion.
What are Some Diseases That Pulmonary Medicine Treats?
All medical conditions that affect the pulmonary health fall under the scope of pulmonary medicine. The range of ailments varies from infections to chronic immune diseases and includes:
Interstitial lung disease
Occupational lung disease
All of these diseases are characterized by inflammation of the airways and cause the person to cough, wheeze, and feel short of breath. If not treated on time, these conditions can deteriorate into progressive lung diseases which can even be fatal.
How Does a Pulmonologist Diagnose Diseases?
After listening to your health concerns, the physician will choose one or multiple diagnostic procedures to determine the disease. There are different diagnostic tools to figure out a variety of lung concerns, such as:
Imaging procedures like chest X-rays and CT scans
Pulmonary function test
Are you surprised to see sleep studies as a means to diagnose lung diseases? It is because there are some breathing-related disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is diagnosed via sleep studies, be it in-clinic or home-based, and is treated efficiently via a pulmonologist.
What Treatments Do Pulmonologists Offer?
Pulmonologists employ comprehensive treatment strategies to deal with pulmonary diseases. The strategy consists of both pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical practices, such as medications and lifestyle amendments respectively.
Medications are the first line of treatment to offer both immediate and sustained relief. These include antibiotics, bronchodilators, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
Lifestyle amendments include smoking cessation and regular exercise. Physicians also strongly urge their patients to maintain a healthy diet and avoid harsh seasons and high altitudes. If you have a pulmonary concern, your pulmonologist will advise you to avoid factors that aggravate the condition. They will also guide you about breathing and relaxation techniques.
Sometimes, pulmonologists also leverage pulmonary function testing (PFT) as a means to diagnose and offer therapeutic treatments to patients.
Currently, the field of medical science is constantly in search of novel therapeutic procedures for innovation in pulmonary medicine.
Why would you need to see a pulmonologist?
If you think you should book an appointment for a lung and sleep clinic for a minor cough or cold, we’d recommend you not to. Such mild pulmonary concerns can be efficiently treated by your primary care physician.
- However, there are certain instances that render it inevitable to see a pulmonologist. Such conditions include:
- Cough that lasts for three weeks
- Chest pain or tightness
- Difficulty in breathing, particularly during strenuous activities
- wheezing or shortness of breath
- Recurrent episodes of COPD, asthma, or cold that affects your respiratory health
These symptoms are an indication that you need to see a pulmonologist. If you discuss this with your primary care provider, they’ll refer you to one. However, if you don’t have a general medicine practitioner to visit, we’ll help you find a pulmonologist.
How to Find a Pulmonologist?
As we discussed earlier, the primary means of finding a pulmonologist is to be referred to one through your general practitioner. It is one reason why it is strongly advised to maintain a sustainable relationship with a primary care provider. However, there’re other ways to find a pulmonologist as well, such as:
- Your Insurance Provider: If you have insurance, all you need to do is to visit their company’s website. Look through their online database for a lung and sleep clinic in your vicinity.
- The Internet: Another resort is to search for a respiratory specialist on the internet. Here you’ll also find their customer’s testimonials to help you make a better decision.
Something as simple as breathing can become a demanding task for those who suffer from pulmonary diseases. Do not let them affect your respiration, get medical assistance now.
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