Physicians/doctors of pulmonary medicine are specialists who are primarily concerned with functions of the lungs and how patients breathe. Pulmonary physicians may work with patients of any age, from young children suffering from asthma or other breathing defects or diseases to adults and seniors suffering from lung disease, cancer, or emphysema. They often work with other specialists, as well as primary care providers, to develop a unified treatment that seeks to cure or manage these serious diseases of the lungs and airways.
Pulmonary care is of vital importance, and doctors in this field must be prepared to treat a variety of diseases and defects, some of which can be difficult to detect and identify their causes. Pulmonary physicians may, for instance, work with allergists or similar specialists to properly diagnose asthma in young patients or analyze blood samples and examine genetic markers for signs of cystic fibrosis in other patients. They are often called to examine scarring, spotting, or other trouble signs found in imaging by primary care providers, as well.
Working with both patients and providers, pulmonary physicians often develop multiple means of treatment, from diets and drug therapy to surgery. They are also enlisted to perform surgical procedures related to the lungs and bronchial passages, as well as possible hindrances to the arterial pathways, which carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the body.
Pulmonary medicine is a specialty which most physicians choose at a late point in medical school, and in addition to the internship and residency required to become a licensed medical doctor, pulmonary physicians must also undergo specialized training and ongoing education to earn and maintain professional credentials within the field. Most pulmonary physicians work in a clinical or hospital environment during regular weekly business hours.
Physician / Doctor, Pulmonary Medicine Tasks
- Perform procedures to test and understand pulmonary function and the factors affecting it.
- Recommend changes to diet, exercise, and home to reduce allergies, improve oxygenation and other concerns.
- Examine patients to diagnose and treat ailments and disorders relating to the lungs.
- Prescribe medications, inhalers, oxygen therapy, or mechanical ventilation.