It is common for you to experience coughs at one point or another. This may not cause concern as many irritants around our environment may trigger coughs. However, a cough that goes on for a continuous period or one that leads to trouble breathing may need to be looked into further. Such conditions may require the services of a New York pulmonologist. More about what a pulmonologist does and the conditions they treat are discussed in further detail below.
Who is a Pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist is a medical professional who deals specifically with conditions of the lungs. They diagnose and treat infections of the respiratory system. They can be referred to as chest doctors, lung doctors, or specialists.
The respiratory system includes your lungs and throat, nose, airways, trachea, blood vessels, and muscles.
A cardiologist is different from a pulmonologist in that they specialize in the heart while the latter deals with the lungs. These areas of the body are closely related, such that conditions like pulmonary hypertension may require attention from both types of doctors.
Requirements for becoming a pulmonologist include:
- A bachelor’s degree and passing the Medical College Admissions Test for medical school
- A primary three-year residency in internal medicine
- A two-year fellowship in pulmonary disease
Conditions treated by a Pulmonologist
Lung and other respiratory conditions may be caused by tissue overgrowth, inflammation, and infections. Most of these conditions may need long-term or even lifelong treatment plans provided by your pulmonologist and other specialists.
Some of these respiratory illnesses include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Lung cancer
- Interstitial lung disease
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Sleep apnea
Other occupation-triggered conditions that can be treated include:
- Chronic beryllium disease
- Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis
A pulmonologist diagnoses and treats respiratory system diseases. This may lead them to specialize in specific areas like asthma, critical care, or sleep medicine. Care may be particular to the elderly or children through a pediatric pulmonologist.
When would you need to visit a Pulmonologist?
Your regular healthcare provider may not be able to deal with your symptoms, therefore, referring you to a pulmonologist specialist. Some signs and symptoms may include:
- Shortness of breath
- A chronic cough that is not improving over time
- Chest tightness or pain
- Sleep apnea symptoms like loud snoring or extreme tiredness
A visit to a pulmonologist involves a physical exam after providing your complete medical history. This may lead to the specialist recommending various tests to help in diagnosis and treatment. These include:
- Imaging tests like CT scans or chest X-rays
- Blood analysis
- Pulmonary function tests
- Sleep studies
Breathing is an essential body function that should be taken seriously. Any issues interfering with your breathing should be addressed as soon as possible. If you have any respiratory system problems, check us out online or call our offices in Washington Heights, NY.