What is a Pulmonologist?

A pulmonologist is a physician who has specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of pulmonary (lung) diseases and conditions.

These specialists diagnose and treat conditions that affect the respiratory system in men and women, such as

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

When to see a Pulmonologist

If you are having any unusual symptoms you should visit your primary care provider. They may refer you to a pulmonologist if you have difficulty breathing, have a persistent cough or regularly cough up blood.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD)

Several types of lung diseases or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) require clinical care by a physician or other health care professional. COPD is a chronic lung disease that gets worse over time. It's sometimes called emphysema or chronic bronchitis. COPD damages the airways in your lungs and leads to shortness of breath, impacting your work, exercise, sleep and other everyday activities.

Pulmonary Emphysema

What is pulmonary emphysema?
Emphysema is a chronic lung condition in which the air sacs (alveoli) may be:

  • Destroyed
  • Narrowed
  • Collapsed
  • Stretched
  • Overinflated

Overinflation of the air sacs is a result of breakdown of the walls of the alveoli. It causes a decrease in respiratory function and breathlessness.

Damage to the air sacs is irreversible and results in permanent "holes" in the tissues of the lower lungs.

Pulmonary emphysema is part of a group of lung diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD lung diseases cause airflow blockage and breathing problems. The two most common conditions of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

What causes pulmonary emphysema?

Emphysema does not develop suddenly, but occurs very slowly over time. It’s caused by:

  • Smoking. This is the main cause.
  • Exposure to air pollution, such as chemical fumes, dust, and other substances
  • Irritating fumes and dusts at work
  • A rare, inherited form of the disease called alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency-related pulmonary emphysema, or early onset pulmonary emphysema. AAT is produced by the liver and is a "lung protector." Nearly all people without AAT develop emphysema.

Our Pulmonology Physicians

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