Pulmonary medicine, also known as chest or respiratory medicine, is an Internal Medicine subspecialty. Diseases treated by pulmonologists include asthma, bronchitis, sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, chest infections, cystic fibrosis, and many other diseases and conditions. Although pulmonologists do not perform chest surgery, pulmonary specialists are skilled at taking samples from tissues inside the chest and lungs. They also perform diagnostic and lung-function tests of many types.
Pulmonologists are consulted by primary caregivers when a patient shows symptoms of a lung problem. Symptoms often include shortness of breath, wheezing, chest pain, and a persistent cough. Diagnosing lung diseases involves a variety of techniques such as pulmonary function tests and medical imaging. Once a diagnosis has been given, treatments of medication and/or pulmonary rehabilitation ensue. Rehabilitation is limited to patients who have decreased respiratory function or show little sign of improvement with medicine.
Pulmonary Physicians help patients who:
- Are overweight
- Have hypertension
- Have been exposed to asbestos, sawdust, or toxic chemicals
- Have diabetes or other diseases that may impact the lungs
Conditions commonly treated:
- Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)
- Lung Cancer