What Do Pulmonologists Do?

If you’re affected by a chronic lung condition such as asthma, emphysema or chronic obstructive lung disease, your general practitioner will probably refer you to a pulmonologist in Broward County for treatment. Pulmonologists are physicians who specialize in diseases and conditions of the respiratory system.

What Is the Respiratory System?

The respiratory system is made up of all the different anatomical structures that assist in the process of breathing. These include:

• The lungs and its component bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli
• The trachea
• The pharynx
• The larynx
• The mouth
• The nose

What Conditions Do Pulmonologists Treat?

The field of pulmonary medicine is very wide, so pulmonologists receive a great deal of training before they are able to be board-certified. Pulmonologists diagnose and treat a range of illnesses, including:

• Asthma: Asthma is a chronic disease that results in a narrowing of the passageways by which oxygen moves in and out of the lungs.
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a term that’s used to describe several conditions, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. These conditions produce anatomical changes in the lung tissues that make it difficult to breathe.
• Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that’s characterized by an accumulation of thick, gluey mucous in the lungs.
• Lung cancer: Lung cancer is a type of cancer whose primary site is the lungs.
• Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis is an infection caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which attacks the lungs.

What Procedures Do Pulmonologists Use?

Pulmonologists use a number of specialized procedures when they diagnose and treat patients. Among them are:

• Pulse oximetry: This simple, noninvasive test measures the percentage of oxygen in your blood.

• Pulmonary function tests: Spirometry measures the volume of air you’re able to inhale and exhale while a diffusion capacity test measures how well your alveoli function. A third test called a plethysmography test measures your total lung capacity.

• Thoracentesis: If fluid has collected into the pleural cavities around your lungs, your pulmonologist may drain it. This procedure is called a thoracentesis.

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