Pulmonary medicine is among the various subspecialties of internal medicine. It focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the full spectrum of conditions affecting the components of the respiratory system: the nose, mouth, throat, voice box, windpipe, large and small airways, and the lungs.
To help give you a better understanding of pulmonary medicine, here is an outline of the four most common conditions treated within the specialty.
Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by the narrowing and swelling of the airways and increased mucus production. These happen when the body launches an inflammatory response after getting exposed to allergens or irritants. When the airways react to inflammation, they tend to produce excess mucus, which can clump together and constrict the airways.
Asthma causes breathing difficulty, wheezing, coughing, and chest pain or tightness, among other distressing symptoms
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a blanket term encompassing two progressive, inflammatory lung conditions that cause airflow blockage and breathing problems: emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Many people with COPD are living with both chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include persistent coughing, particularly one that involves excess mucus; chest tightness; shortness of breath, which gets worse with physical activity; and wheezing.
The characteristic symptom of emphysema is shortness of breath, which typically starts gradually. However, many people who have emphysema can go for many years without any signs or symptoms until there’s already significant damage to their lungs.
Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States, affecting more than 235,000 people every year. According to the American Cancer Society, more people succumb to lung cancer than to colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.
Cigarette smoking is the leading culprit in lung cancer. Therefore, the disease is mostly lifestyle-related. It is also highly preventable.
Persistent or worsening cough, blood or rust-colored sputum, and chest pain that is exacerbated by coughing, deep breathing, or laughing are a few of the common symptoms of lung cancer.
Pneumonia is a condition in which the air sacs in either or both lungs are inflamed, due to bacterial, fungal, or viral infection.
The symptoms of pneumonia can range from mild to severe, depending on your age, overall health, and the type of germ that caused your infection. Common symptoms of pneumonia include fatigue; chest pain when breathing or coughing; confusion; fever; shortness of breath; and nausea or vomiting.
Pulmonary Medicine Expert in North Texas
At Lung & Sleep Specialists of North Texas, board-certified pulmonary medicine expert Dr. Olusegun Oseni provides unparalleled care for patients suffering from all kinds of respiratory problems. He and his team offer a wide range of on-site services, such as X-ray imaging, spirometry, and pulmonary function tests, which are essential for making an accurate diagnosis and devising a highly effective treatment plan.