What is pulmonology?

Pulmonology is the branch of internal medicine that diagnoses and treats diseases and abnormalities of the chest and lungs, including:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Asthma

The most common reasons patients are referred to a pulmonologist are a persistent cough lasting three weeks or longer, shortness of breath and wheezing.

How do I find out more about lung disease?

The more you know, the better you will be able to control your lung disease symptoms.  The Breathe Easy Club and Pulmonary Rehabilitation education sessions are opportunities to learn more.

There are several on-line resources for education about lung diseases.  Excellent sites such as the American Lung Association may be reached through links provided on this web site.

What is the goal of The Pulmonary Rehab Program?

To return and maintain a patient to his or her optimal activity level with a decrease in shortness of breath, for as long as this level can be maintained.  We also try to help our patients and their family members to better understand the disease and treatments.

What causes shortness of breath?

There are times when it’s “normal” to experience breathing difficulty.  Strenuous exercise is an example, especially if you do not exercise regularly.

Some of the common causes of breathing difficulty:

  • Pneumonia
  • Allergies
  • Obesity
  • Anxiety
  • Smoking

Shortness of breath also can be a sign of serious lung or heart disease and should be evaluated by your doctor.

How can I take care of my lung health?

In general, everyone’s lung health can benefit from:

  • Not smoking.
  • Regular exercise and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
  • Avoiding exposure to allergens, dust and secondhand smoking.
  • Talking with your doctor and developing an action plan for managing chronic lung or heart conditions

What does the “breathing test” tell you?

A Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT) measure how well the lungs take in and exhale air.  A complete PFT is done to diagnose the type of lung disease.

It is a test that lasts approximately 45 minutes.  Breathing measurements are taken as you do several different types of breathing, such as panting and slow, deep breathing.  This test is done initially for diagnosis.

Spirometry, a simple quick test measures 3 good breaths and is done in the office to monitor changes in lung function over time.  This test is done routinely as well as when medication changes are made or breathing problems flare up.

How can I get a better night’s sleep?

Some general guidelines in lifestyle/routine may help:

  • If overweight, start a healthy weight loss program.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine within four hours of sleep.
  • Lie on your side or stomach, not your back.
  • Establish a regular bedtime and wake-up schedule.
  • Have a relaxing pre-sleep ritual.
  • Go to bed only when you are drowsy.
  • Exercise regular.
  • Don’t nap.

My doctor has referred me for a sleep study. Is it necessary for me to see a specialist before scheduling the sleep study?

Yes.  An evaluation by a sleep specialist is a very important step in the diagnosis and treatment of a sleep disorder.
Your specialist will perform a thorough examination and medical history in order to specialize your care plan.  Your sleep specialist will evaluate any recommended test results for abnormalities and make recommendations for treatment.

When issues or questions arise about your sleep, your physician will be familiar with your case.  This will allow your physician to make recommendations in your best interest.

What is the treatment for sleep apnea?

Most commonly, a positive airway pressure (PAP) device is used to treat sleep apnea.  PAP therapy involves wearing a nasal device  It is connected by tubing to a small machine that delivers air pressure.  The air pressure acts as an air splint to keep the upper airway open and prevent snoring and apneas.

What should I bring to my appointment?

  • Picture ID
  • Insurance Card(s)
  • Referral/Authorization Form (if required by insurance)
  • List Of Medications:
    1) Current
    2) Over-The-Counter Medications
    3) Inhalers You Are Using – Include Dose & Frequency
    (You may want to bring all medications with you to the appointment)
  • Important Information About Your Medical & Surgical History
  • Any Recent X-rays Or Medical Records Pertinent To Your Visit
  • Visit the forms page on our website to access the new patient form