Tips & Advice
How much does it cost to see a pulmonologist?
The cost to see a pulmonologist can vary depending on several factors, starting with the cost of the appointment. This can range from around $50 on up, depending on location, etc. You will likely have to take, at a minimum, a spirometry test which records the rate and amounts of air inhaled and exhaled. This initial test is used to diagnose lung conditions. From there your doctor may have to have more tests to further diagnose your condition. If you are paying out-of-pocket, you can expect a minimum cost of your office visit and spirometry test. Obviously additional tests, severity of condition, and other variables can influence your cost. Pulmonologists are usually billable under most insurance plans, but consult your policy or insurance representative to understand what your plan covers.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs. There is no singular cause of pneumonia, making it a common and dangerous ailment. There are more than 30 germs, bacteria and viruses that can cause it. The usual symptoms of pneumonia include coughing with phlegm, fever and chills and difficulty breathing. The air sacs in the lungs may fill with fluid and this is when it can be very dangerous and potentially fatal. Pneumonia is especially dangerous in infants, people older than 65, and people with reduced immunity. It is usually treatable with antibiotics and over the counter medicines and can sometimes be prevented with vaccines.
Cystic Fibrosis, or CF, is a genetically-inherited progressive respiratory disease that damages the lungs and digestive systems. As the disease progresses, frequent infections limit and reduce the ability to breathe. The defective gene causes production and buildup of thick mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, due to a defective gene that produces a protein called the CFTR. Symptoms may include frequent lung infection, a persistent cough that produces thick mucus, breathlessness, intolerance to exercise, and frequently inflamed sinuses or nasal passages. Due to the seriousness of CF, it is standard now for all newborns to be screened for it. CF is a life-threatening disease that can be treated to ease the symptoms, but ultimately cannot be cured.
Bronchitis is an illness caused by a viral infection in which the lining of the bronchial tubes in the lungs become inflamed, causing reduces airflow capabilities to and from the lungs. Primary symptoms of bronchitis and acute bronchitis are chronic or persistent cough, and coughing up mucus. These can also be symptomatic of other respiratory conditions, so be sure get a correct diagnosis from your physician. Bronchitis is easily treatable and can take a few days or even weeks to fully recover depending on the strength of the strain, time of diagnosis and the person’s health and recovery abilities. You can treat bronchitis on your own without medical attention, assuming it is not an extreme condition.
Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder in which a person’s breathing is interrupted or stopped during sleep. Sleep apnea can be dangerous because the lack of breathing deprives the body and brain of crucial oxygen. Symptoms of sleep apnea may include loud snoring and feeling tired, even after a full night’s sleep. These can also be symptoms of other respiratory conditions, and even be harmless coincidences, so be sure to consult your physician for clarity and proper diagnosis. Age and obesity are primary risk factors for sleep apnea and it is more common in men. Sleep apnea treatments include lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, and the use of breathing assistance (CPAP) machines at night.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a condition that creates a progressive blockage or obstruction of airflow in and/or out of the lungs. Symptoms of COPD may include shortness of breath, wheezing and chronic cough. COPD is a slow, progressive disease that, if not diagnosed and treated, can ultimately be fatal. Smoking, second-hand smoke, and pollution are the top three causes of COPD. While COPD cannot be cured, it can be treated and managed.
Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes difficulty in breathing. A major symptom of asthma is spasms in the bronchi of the lungs. The airways become inflamed, can shrink and swell, and increase mucus production. Asthma is generally the result of an allergic reaction or a form of hypersensitivity. There are varying degrees of asthma, including chronic asthma, but it is nearly 100 percent treatable, except for unusual circumstances. There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications that treat it.
What type of conditions do pulmonologists treat?
Pulmonologists treat a wide variety of conditions, including but not limited to asthma; emphysema; bronchitis; occupational lung disorders such as asbestos exposure and farmer’s lung (exposure to organisms found in wheat, hay, etc. that impact the lungs); pulmonary fibrosis (thickening and scarring of the lungs); Rheumatoid lung disease (related to rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the lining of the lungs); and sarcoidosis (inflammatory disease which has no known cause or cure).
What does a pulmonologist do?
A pulmonologist focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pulmonary conditions, such as asthma that affect the lungs and respiratory system.
Pulmonology is the study of the lungs and the respiratory system. Doctors who specialize in pulmonology are internal medicine doctors with a specialty in pulmonary systems.