The pulmonology is that sector of medicine responsible for the study of ‘ anatomy of the lung and other organs through which passes the air that we breathe, for example the bronchi and trachea, as well as the observation of their operation and maintenance of their pathologies .
What does the pulmonologist do?
The pulmonologist is the specialist responsible for diagnosing and remedying the pathologies that occur in the respiratory system : larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, diaphragm and rib cage. In fact, the appearance of respiratory failure or at least the slowing of its progression pass through the treatment of diagnosed pathologies. In some cases, the pulmonologist works in a team with the allergist , while when there is a need for surgical intervention, the pulmonologist works in team with the thoracic and / or cardiovascular surgeon.
The diseases that the pulmonologist treats most frequently are:
- allergic asthma
- inflammatory diseases such as laryngitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and brocopneumonia, both in acute and chronic form, as in the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- lung cancers
What are the procedures most used by the pulmonologist?
First of all, the pulmonologist tries to carry out an anamnesis as accurate as possible, collecting information on the patient’s medical and family history. Then we inquire about any risk factors such as smoking and exposure to toxic substances, as these can constitute risk factors for diseases of the respiratory system. It also checks for any other pathologies, especially allergic, autoimmune or cardiovascular, even in the patient’s family members. Anamnesis is followed by a visit which includes inspection, palpation, percussion and ascultation of the chest, at the end of which it can prescribe diagnostic tests.
The tests most frequently requested by the pulmonologist are:
- laboratory analysis
- Chest x-ray
- Chest CT
The pulmonologist may also decide to perform surgery or to insert prostheses (stents) to keep the airways open.
When to ask for an appointment with the pulmonologist?
In initial symptoms of pathologies affecting the respiratory system they should never be ignored, and therefore it is good to request an appointment with the pulmonologist already at the first signs, rather than contacting this specialist only when the problem is in an advanced stage and difficult to treat . For example, a cough associated with abundant mucus production, wheezing and the production of wheezing or whistling during breathing can be symptoms of COPD, so it is appropriate to consult a pulmonologist when these symptoms occur.