A pulmonologist or a lung doctor is a physician in the field of internal medicine who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases. A pulmonologist deals with various chronic and acute lung diseases such as severe pneumonia, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), tuberculosis, lung cancer, and others. During the first appointment, the pulmonologist examines the patient and prescribes necessary tests and analyses. He or she also gives advice about disease prevention and plans subsequent treatment. The most common pulmonary diagnostic methods are auscultation of the airways (listening to lung sounds), lungs X-ray, spirometry, chest CT scan and bronchoscopy.
Pulmonary function tests
Spirometry is a widely used pulmonary function test for assessing lung volume and possible obstructions (flow problems) in the airways. During this test, forced inhalation and exhalation are performed, at maximum depth and speed. Spirometry allows to detect decrease in lung function that accompanies various pulmonological (i.e. lung) diseases. The test is useful for diagnosing several common lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, and for monitoring their progression and treatment.