What do asthma, emphysema, COPD, pneumonia, and bronchitis all have in common?
These are all common lung diseases that – along with other conditions such as work-related pulmonary disease, sleep disorders, and lung infections and cancer – are the focus of a branch of medicine known as pulmonology.
Doctors specializing in this field are called pulmonologists and their purpose is to diagnose, treat, and prevent medical conditions affecting the lungs and respiratory tract. In addition, their training includes critical care and sleep medicine.
At the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University Pulmonary Clinic, our highly skilled clinicians see a broad spectrum of pulmonary disorders. Working in close collaboration with chest radiologists, thoracic surgeons, pulmonary pathologists, and other specialists, they provide state-of-the-art diagnostic evaluation and outpatient treatments.
Common Respiratory Conditions Treated at a Pulmonary Clinic
The respiratory system includes parts of the body that assist in breathing, such as the airway, the lungs, and the respiratory muscles. A pulmonologist helps diagnose and treat respiratory disorders that are structural, inflammatory, neoplastic, infectious, or autoimmune. There are also some respiratory conditions that can affect other parts of the body, which is why pulmonologists often work with other specialists to help provide the best care possible.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the different respiratory conditions that are often diagnosed and treated by the dedicated professionals at SUNY: Upstate Medical University Pulmonary Clinic:
- Asthma – Characterized by chest tightness, shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing, asthma attacks usually occur when the airways become inflamed, restricting airflow to the lungs. Asthma can often be managed with rescue inhalers that treat symptoms and controller inhalers formulated to prevent symptoms. More severe cases of asthma may require longer-acting inhalers or oral steroids to keep the airways open.
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) –This is a group of lung diseases involving lung tissue damage and airway inflammation in which the airway tubes are slightly obstructed, making it hard to breathe. The most common forms of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema.COPD can be treated with supplemental oxygen, noninvasive ventilation (NIV), endobronchial valve (EBV) therapy, or surgery.
- Pulmonary Fibrosis – This condition typically occurs when there is thickening and scarring in the lungs. As a result, your lungs progressively lose their ability to draw in oxygen. The best treatment for pulmonary fibrosis is medication in the form of two, FA-approved drugs – nintedanib (Ofey®) and pirfenidone (Esbriet®).
- Sarcoidosis – This inflammatory disease is characterized by tiny lumps of immune cells (granulomas) that grow in organs such as the lungs and lymph nodes and affect how they function.The primary treatment options to relieve sarcoidosis symptoms are corticosteroids, such as prednisone and prednisolone.
In addition to these conditions, pulmonary clinicians also diagnose and treat cases of pneumonia, tuberculosis, and emphysema, among many others. If you are suffering from respiratory symptoms or having difficult breathing, it is best to consult a pulmonologist directly or have your primary doctor refer you to a pulmonary clinic, as such conditions can worsen over time if they are left untreated and become more complicated to address.
Pulmonary and Critical Care in Syracuse, New York
At the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University, our board-certified physicians trained in pulmonary and critical care are experts in diagnosing and treating lung diseases. We have many important subspecialty clinics as a part of our pulmonary and critical care services. These include our:
- Asthma clinic
- Cystic fibrosis clinic
- Interstitial lung disease clinic
- Pulmonary clinic
- Pulmonary hypertension clinic
- Sarcoidosis clinic
Depending on your specific respiratory condition, treatment may include lifestyle changes, breathing aid devices, and medications.
To schedule an appointment, please call your pulmonary and critical care and sleep medicine provider directly. For more information about our services, you can also contact the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University directly by emailing us at DeptMedicine@upstate.edu.