What is Pulmonology?
Pulmonology is a subspecialty that focuses on complex diseases of the lungs. In order to diagnose and treat lung disorders, a pulmonologist may also examine the chest, nose, throat, or heart. However, the main function of pulmonology is to make sure the lungs are functioning well.
Some of the diseases and disorders that might be treated by a pulmonologist include:
Mesothelioma and other lung cancers
A pulmonologist often uses pulmonary function tests, such as spirometry, to measure how well the lungs are able to move air in and out. Pulmonologists are trained to take surgical samples and biopsies when needed, but they do not typically perform surgery. Pulmonologists may provide consultations to other doctors, acute care for sudden illnesses, or regular care for patients with long-term lung disorders.
What is Sleep Medicine?
Sleep medicine is the medical field that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to sleep and rest. This can include difficulty sleeping well at night or problems with daytime sleepiness. Sleep medicine specialists treat patients of all ages who need better rest.
When people think of sleep disorders, they often think of insomnia. That’s one kind of sleep disorder, but there are several others. In addition to insomnia, a sleep medicine specialist may treat conditions such as:
Shift work disorder
Circadian rhythm disorder
Severe or recurrent jet lag
Treatments may include medication, light therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or CPAP therapy. CPAP, which stands for continuous positive airway pressure, is one of the most commonly prescribed treatments. These tiny machines have a tube and mask and blow a stream of air over the face at night, helping patients with snoring or sleep apnea to breathe easily and sleep more soundly.
One important tool often used in sleep medicine is the sleep study or polysomnogram, where patients sleep either in a lab or at home with a monitoring device. The sleep study allows doctors to measure the quality of sleep over an entire night, check for various sleep problems, and identify breathing disorders such as sleep apnea. If performed in a lab, you will arrive and spend the night sleeping in a bed similar to one in a hotel room. You may have electrodes attached to your head and chest to monitor your breathing, oxygen levels, brain waves, and heart rate. Technicians collect the information, which your physician can use to identify and diagnose disorders that have been interrupting your sleep.
Not getting enough rest at night makes you feel terrible, can make it difficult to do the things you need to do, and can even put you at higher risk for physical and mental health problems. Feeling tired all the time can be a huge quality of life issue. If a sleep disorder is preventing you from getting enough rest, a sleep medicine specialist can help you manage the problem so that you have the energy to enjoy your life.
Otolaryngologists are also called 'ENTs' because their area of specialty is the ears, nose, and throat. Otolaryngologists treat most of the diseases and disorders that affect the head or neck. They can provide routine medical care, such as giving hearing tests or treating chronic conditions such as allergies. Otolaryngologists also perform a number of surgeries on the head and neck. Some of the illnesses and issues that otolaryngologists treat include:
Ear problems - hearing loss, infections, tinnitus or ringing on the ears, balance disorders, trauma or fracture of the temporal bone, prominent or large ears (using 'ear pinning' plastic surgery)
Nose issues - sinus infections, allergies, nasal polyps, smell disorders
Throat issues - voice and swallowing problems, infections or trauma to the larynx or esophagus, sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea)
Head and neck problems - infections, trauma, tumors, conditions requiring plastic surgery
Because they perform so many delicate surgeries of the face, otolaryngologists are often sought out as plastic surgeons when facial surgery is required. Their specialized knowledge of the anatomy of the head and face can make a real difference in the outcome of a surgery, from a brow lift to a total facial reconstruction after trauma.
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