There are many lung diseases that impair the function of lungs. A patient with lung disease may experience chest tightness, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. These symptoms are what often bring patients to a doctor. Examples of lung diseases include asthma, pneumonia, emphysema, COPD, and cancer.
Without proper treatment or management, symptoms may become worse. A patient suspected of having lung disease is referred to a pulmonologist in order to get a clinical diagnosis. Depending on the results of diagnostic tests, the pulmonologist will work with physicians in other specialties to provide comprehensive treatment to the patient.
Diagnostic Tools Used To Diagnose Lung Disease
If a pulmonologist suspects you have a specific type of lung problem, they will employ the right diagnostic tools to diagnose you. Here are some examples:
For patients with asthma symptoms, a pulmonologist will usually conduct a physical exam, listen to your breathing, and measure the volume of air you breathe in and out as well as its force using a hand-held spirometer. A peak flow meter may also be used to measure your ability to expel air from your lungs and determine the severity of the airway obstruction. To measure the amount of oxygen in your blood, a pulse oximeter may be used. A blood sample can also help determine your carbon dioxide levels.
Patients exhibiting symptoms of pneumonia, such as a fever and mucus production, may be asked to undergo tests such as a chest X-ray, a blood test, a pulse oximetry, and a sputum test. For patients over the age of 60, a pulmonologist may order a CT scan and a pleural fluid culture for further testing.
For patients suspected of having lung cancer, a pulmonologist may request a chest X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. These diagnostic imaging tools produce clear images of your lungs. If the pulmonologist find something suspicious, a bronchoscopy or thoracoscopy may follow to access the lungs and get a sample of lung tissue for a biopsy, which is a critical step in diagnosing cancer.
Image-guided diagnostics is also used to diagnose COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Usually, a combination of a chest X-ray, a pulmonary function test (using a spirometer), a blood test, and a sample of your sputum are taken. Emphysema, another type of lung disease, is also diagnosed using a chest X-ray.
Pulmonologist in Sarasota and Bradenton, FL
Lung diseases can be serious problems that disrupt your life and put you in danger. If you are experiencing symptoms associated with lung disease, such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, and chest tightness and pain, the pulmonologists at Intercoastal Medical Group can help.
To make an appointment, reach out to our Cattleridge office in Sarasota at (941) 379-1799 or our Lakewood Ranch I office in Bradenton at (941) 362-8662. You can also send an appointment request. Our friendly staff looks forward to hearing from you.