Basic information of the Pulmonologist
Human beings require oxygen to survive. The system that helps in the exchange of gases i.e. uptake of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide from the body is known as the respiratory system. It consists of the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea and finally the lungs. The complex pressure-volume relationships that occurs via the mechanical ventilation performed by the process of breathing helps to achieve the goal of respiration. The air flows through the nose and then enters the trachea. From here the trachea branches into the right bronchus and the left bronchus into respective lungs. The bronchus then divides further, to ultimately form the terminal bronchiole and then the alveolus. This is the final place where the actual gas exchange occurs. This process is called the alveolar ventilation. There are numerous alveoli present in each lung. The walls of the alveolus are very thin and the gases flow in and out through it by a process called diffusion. The difference in the pressure and concentration across the walls of alveoli helps in this process.
Apart from its important function of respiration, the respiratory system performs many non-respiratory functions that are very important for the normal functioning of the body. These include:

  • It provides route for the loss of water and elimination of heat. The humidification of the air breathed in is essential to prevent the drying out of alveolar linings. Heat is lost when the air is breathed out because of the high heat capacity of water. This can be observed on a cold day when the breathed out air condenses.
  • It helps to maintain acid-base balance by altering the hydrogen ions produces in carbon dioxide in the breathed out air. 
  • It helps in speech, singing and other vocalization
  • It has a defensive action against foreign matter that is breathed in along with air. This is achieved primarily through sneezing and coughing. It has a protective lining of mucus and the underlying cilia that transport mucus with any deposited material to the esophagus, where it is swallowed.
  • It also helps in vomiting by creating large pressures.
  • It acts on many biological substances passing through the pulmonary circulation.
  • The nose that is a part of the respiratory system acts as organ of smell.
  • The muscles of the respiratory system help in creating large pressures needed during childbirth. The same respiratory muscles are also used during defecation that is during passing stool. 
  • The lungs also provide a reservoir of blood for the left side of the heart
Multiple diseases can occur that affect the respiratory system. This can include disease in any organ of the respiratory system but most diseases that occur are due to diseases of the lungs. The doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating the diseases of the respiratory system is called Pulmonologist. Get your pulmonologist appointment online to detect respiratory issues if any, and treatment for recovery. 

In modern times, respiratory diseases have increased to a great extent due to decreased quality of air caused by pollution, sedentary lifestyles and smoking as a habit. Smoking has been implicated in a number of lung diseases. It can cause inflammatory reactions leading to development of diseases. It also affects the cilia that have an important function of transporting mucus and thus helping to remove foreign material that enters with the air that is inhaled.

The most common diseases of the respiratory system are:
  • Asthma
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). This disease is the current term that includes both chronic bronchitis and emphysema
  • Bronchiectasis

It is an obstructive disease of the airway due to bronchoconstriction that is narrowing of the smaller airways and also includes the inflammatory response in the airways that increases mucus production. Patients usually have normal inhalation but exhalation is hindered due to the obstruction of the airways. To enhance exhalation against the obstruction, the patients tend to overuse accessory muscles for forced exhalation. The resultant increase in the pleural pressure causes the equal pressure point to be reached earlier in the exhalation, which further constricts the bronchioles caused by the compression of the lungs resulting in the characteristic wheezing sound that is typically associated with asthma. The other symptoms that occur are shortness of breath, chest tightness and cough which vary over time and in intensity.

Asthma is mostly managed by the use of medications that can be taken as inhalations so that the drug directly deposits on the lung where the therapeutic action is intended. The 2 types of drug delivery systems that are commonly used by the patients themselves are:

  1. MDIs (Metered-dose inhalers)
  2. DPIs (Dry powder inhalers)

The other common type of delivery system that is used in the hospital when the patient is brought in emergency is called nebulizer. Along with inhalers, the patients are also prescribed syrups and tablets of bronchodilators and steroids to manage the disease. If you are looking for Asthma doctors then you can opt for pulmonologist online consultation to understand what treatment is required. 

Chronic bronchitis:
It is defined clinically as persistent cough with sputum production for at least 3 months in at least 2 consecutive years in the absence of any other identifiable cause. It involves the lower airways and is generally triggered by cigarette smoke, polluted air or allergens. The airways become narrowed because of the chronic irritation producing copious amounts of thick mucus. As the cilia that transport the mucus is immobilized, frequent coughing associated with chronic irritation is unable to remove the plugged mucus. This also leads to the development of bacterial infections because the accumulated mucus serves as an excellent medium for the growth of bacteria. In the long time, it is associated with progressive lung dysfunction which can be so severe so as to cause hypoxemia (low oxygen levels), pulmonary hypertension and cor pulmonale.

This disease is also mostly symptomatically controlled by medications. The drugs that are used are almost the same as that are used for asthma as both control the symptoms that occur but cannot cure the disease itself. 

It is characterized by collapse of the smaller airways and breakdown of the alveolar walls that is loss of alveolar tissue including the pulmonary capillaries. This is an irreversible condition and can arise in two ways. Most commonly, it results from the damage caused by the increased release of destructive enzymes such as trypsin from the alveolar macrophages that occurs as a defensive mechanism when exposed chronically to inhaled cigarette smoke or other irritants. Rarely, emphysema arises from a genetic inability to produce alpha antitrypsin so that the lung tissue has no protection from trypsin. The only treatment currently available is lung transplantation.

COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease):
This disease includes the diseases chronic bronchitis and emphysema and can be managed by the treatments that are employed in managing these two diseases. The most common cause is cigarette smoking.

  • Why choose online doctor consultation?
With the advent of new technology, it has become very easy to connect to some of the best specialists available in India from the comfort of home. The past history, reports, medications details, etc. can be uploaded to a safe and secure place on the server so that it can be accessed anytime by a specialist with the permission of the patient. The patient doesn’t have to worry to carry the reports and other files every time when seeing a doctor and thus saves the potential of misleading or missed information to be given to the doctor. We at MediFlam offer these services and have empaneled some of the best pulmonologist doctors that are known for their expertise and have a vast experience serving in their respective fields. Online consultations can also be very helpful for those who are non-ambulatory that is cannot visit a hospital or a doctor because of old age or some diseases that makes it very difficult to travel. The patients, through online pulmonologist consultation, can at least get an idea of the disease that they are suffering from and can be further advised by the doctor for the course of action on treatment that may include medications or surgery or both.
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Frequently asked questions about Pulmonologist

What does pulmonology mean?

The branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the respiratory system is called pulmonology.

What does a pulmonologist do on the first visit?

The pulmonologist may do some physical examinations to hear lung sounds and try to identify the problem. He/she may also advise to undergo some radiologic or microbiologic tests to diagnose the disease.

Can I consult a pulmonologist online?

With the advent of modern technology, it is very possible for the patient experiencing any symptoms affecting the respiratory system to at least get a probabilistic diagnosis by connecting with the pulmonology appointment online on MediFlam. Then the pulmonologist can advise the patient for further process to confirm the diagnosis and get treated at the earliest.

Are online pulmonologist qualified?

Mediflam has a stringent process of checking the qualifications of doctors that are taken on the platform so that the patients get access to the best qualified doctors to get the best possible diagnosis. Mediflam has a panel of some of the best pulmonologists in India. We at MediFlam make sure that our platform provides hassle free experience to the patient as well as the doctor at the best cost possible. Our doctors work in close conjunction with the patients so as to provide them quick diagnosis, treatment and regular follow ups.

What is chronic pulmonary diseases?

These are diseases that are present for quite a long time. The chief complaints are cough and difficulty in breathing on exertion. These diseases are usually caused by cigarette smoking and other irritants which can be pollutants or other chemicals.

When should I see a doctor for chest tightness?

It is very important to know the cause of chest tightness because it can be due to pulmonary diseases or may be due to some underlying heart disease. If the symptom persists or is unbearable, immediately consult a physician. 

What causes heavy chest?

Heaviness in the chest can be caused by a variety of diseases that include the gastrointestinal system or the cardiovascular system or the respiratory system. It is better to consult a physician as soon as possible if the symptom persists.

What are the main 4 stages of COPD?

According to the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), the four stages of COPD are:

  • Stage I: Mild COPD. Lung function is starting to decline but you may not notice it.
  • Stage II: Moderate COPD. Symptoms progress, with shortness of breath developing upon exertion.
  • Stage III: Severe COPD. Shortness of breath becomes worse and COPD exacerbations are common.
  • Stage IV: Very severe COPD. Quality of life is gravely impaired. COPD exacerbation can be life-threatening.

What causes shortness of breath?

This is a common symptom that can be caused by problems in gastrointestinal system or the respiratory system or the cardiovascular system. If the symptom persists, a physician should be consulted immediately.

Can eating excess sugar cause breathing problems?

Eating excess sugar doesn’t directly affect breathing but it can lead to the development of metabolic diseases which can have detrimental effects to all the organ systems of the body including the respiratory system. Immediately consult a pulmonologist doctor in case you are facing breathing issues.

What food is good for lungs?

Various natural foods that have anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce infections thus helping the lungs. These include foods like garlic, ginger and turmeric. There is some evidence that shows that garlic may be effective in improving asthma and reduce the risk of lung cancer.

What are the signs of COPD getting worse?

According to the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), the four stages of COPD are:

  • Stage I: Mild COPD. Lung function is starting to decline but you may not notice it.
  • Stage II: Moderate COPD. Symptoms progress, with shortness of breath developing upon exertion.
  • Stage III: Severe COPD. Shortness of breath becomes worse and COPD exacerbations are common.
  • Stage IV: Very severe COPD. Quality of life is gravely impaired. COPD exacerbation can be life-threatening.

So if the symptoms starts progressing in the above fashion that is if the disease progresses from a milder stage to a more severe stage, it can be considered that it is getting worse.

What is a Pulmonologist?
A Pulmonologist is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases that affect the respiratory system. The usual diseases are asthma, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), bronchiectasis and chronic bronchitis. Get your pulmonologist online consultation to detect respiratory issues and guidance related to further treatment. 

  • Human body’s respiratory system includes which organs?
The respiratory system starts with nose and then continues with the pharynx, larynx, trachea, and right and left bronchi that branch and enter the lungs.  

  • What kind of respiratory problems can a Pulmonologist treat?
Pulmonologist is a doctor that specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases that affect the respiratory system. Mostly the diseases that occur in the lungs are treated by the pulmonology doctor, the diseases of the nose and throat are treated by ENT doctor.  

  • When should one visit a Pulmonologist?
A pulmonologist should be consulted whenever there are breathing problems or allergies that cause sneezing or difficulty in breathing. Many people are allergic to a variety of things from simple dust to animal dander, molds, pollen, etc. A pulmonologist can help control the manifestations that occur due to these allergies through medications and other conservative treatments.

  • What is the difference between a Pulmonologist and a chest surgeon?
Pulmonologist diagnoses and treats diseases related to lungs by medications but if the disease is serious enough that a surgical intervention is needed, then the pulmonologist refers the patient to a chest surgeon who further decides the course of action. 

  • A Pulmonologist uses what kind of procedures to diagnose the issue?
There are various examinations that a pulmonologist does to identify the underlying disease. These include simple physical examinations like palpation, percussion, auscultation, listening to the adventitious sounds, crackles (discontinuous sounds), wheezes, and other extrapulmonary sounds. The pulmonologist may also ask to get microbiologic tests done to identify the underlying infection. Radiographic techniques like chest X-rays, CT scan, MRI, etc. are also done to observe if there is any problem in the lungs due to infection or inflammation. 

  • Can one go to the Pulmonologist to quit smoking?
A pulmonologist can advise alternatives that can be adopted to quit smoking but the will of the person who is addicted is the most important factor. Consult a Pulmonologist online to get specific advice to quit smoking. 
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