What is Pulmonology?
Pulmonology is the diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases. The lungs can affect many parts of the body including the heart, kidneys and oxygenation of the blood. Lung diseases and disorders can make breathing difficult and also cause disruptions in sleep patterns.
What Does a Pulmonologist Do?
Pulmonary specialists, also known as pulmonologists, are doctors who are specifically trained to diagnose and treat diseases, conditions and abnormalities of the lungs and respiratory system. Pulmonologists work with patients who have respiratory tract issues and patients in need of life support and mechanical ventilation.
What Conditions Does a Pulmonologists Treat?
- Cystic Fibrosis
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- Pleural Effusion
- Lung Cancer
- ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome)
- Interstitial Lung Disease
- Lung Transplant
- Pulmonary Hypertension
- Pulmonary Tuberculosis
- Sarcoidosis of the Lungs
- SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)
What Tests Does a Pulmonologists Perform?
Pulmonologists perform pulmonary function tests to measure how well the lungs work to detect and diagnose lung diseases. They also measure how a patient is progressing during lung disease treatment. Pulmonary function tests are performed using a spirometer, an instrument that measures how quickly air flows in and out of the lungs. Patients will simply blow into a mouthpiece that is connected to the spirometer. The pulmonologist may ask patients to breathe normally through the mouthpiece or blow forcefully. Based off the data results from the spirometry test, pulmonologists determine if other tests are necessary. These tests may include chest X-rays or blood tests to measure the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
What is Pulmonary Rehabilitation?
Pulmonary rehabilitation, otherwise known as pulmonary rehab, is a program designed to help those suffering from chronic lung disorders. Pulmonary rehabilitation does not replace medical treatment but instead, it works in conjunction with the following medical treatments:
- Monitored Exercise: An exercise program is designed for each individual based on their initial physical evaluation. Monitored exercise builds the strength and endurance of patients to help improve their ability to perform daily activities, helps the time of recovery and ideally enables patients to return to work.
- Nutrition Guidance: During pulmonary rehabilitation, a dietitian counsels each patient on nutrition in order to maintain a healthy weight, a healthy body and improve their quality of life.
- Health Education: While completing pulmonary rehabilitation, patients are educated on their lung disease or condition and how to manage it successfully. Participants receive information on techniques to improve their breathing and learn how to conserve energy.
- Psychosocial Support: Managing a chronic lung condition can be challenging. Pulmonary rehabilitation works to achieve and maintain the maximum level of independence for each patient. Patients discuss individual goals with their rehabilitation team and receive the support they need to achieve them.
Lungs are easily damaged by any type of toxins that are breathed into them. Toxins from the air or harmful substances, like smoking, contribute to lung damage. While it may be impossible to eliminate all harmful toxins, here are ways to decrease the risk of developing a lung disease:
- Stop smoking and/or don't start smoking.
- Avoid air pollutants and secondhand smoke.
- Use protective gear at work. If an individual's job exposes them to harmful toxins and chemicals, use protective gear at all times. Follow the safety precautions set in place by employers and always wear a protective mask to keep lungs safe.
- Prevent infection.
Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic Pulmonology
The pulmonology team at UnityPoint Clinic is committed to providing quality coordinated care for each and every patient. They work together to develop a plan of care that is individualized for optimal health and make sure all the pulmonary needs of the patient are met to help them live their healthiest life.