A pulmonologist is a medical doctor that practices in the field of medicine related to the diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the cardio-pulmonary system and the lungs. This also includes conditions related to the heart, blood vessels, and organs which allow humans to breathe oxygen and promote the oxygenation of the blood.


Breathing disorders are a common reason people seek treatment from a pulmonologist. As a result, some pulmonologists will also specialize in treating other conditions including allergies and sleep disorders that can interrupt effective breathing. They often work in conjunction with a family doctor or in emergency medicine to provide treatment to patients with breathing difficulties.


There are several common diseases treated by pulmonologists including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, bronchitis, sleep apnea, and infections in the lungs. A pulmonologist will be able to examine, diagnose, and treat cardio-pulmonary conditions but are not involved in any surgical treatments. They can specialize in the retrieving of lung or chest cavity tissues for analysis. A pulmonologist will also be able to perform diagnostic tests on patients that include lung function tests to monitor a person’s ability to breathe.


Being referred to a pulmonologist for breathing problems or medical conditions that affect your lungs is often a necessary part of treatment. Many breathing problems can evolve into chronic conditions that will need on-going treatment including wearing oxygen tanks, using inhalers, taking prescription medications, and using machinery to monitor breathing patterns when asleep such as with sleep apnea.


Pulmonologists can also specialize in the lung functioning and conditions affecting kinds including chronic asthma, chronic coughing, pneumonia, chronic lung disease, and general breathing difficulties. Pediatric pulmonologists will also be essential as part of a treatment team with pediatric patients born premature with ill-developed lungs.