Pulmonology is a field of medicine that focuses specifically on diagnosing and treating disorders of the respiratory system.

Subspecialties of pulmonology can include:

  • interstitial lung disease, which focuses on lung diseases marked by persistent inflammation and scarring
  • interventional pulmonology, which employs multidisciplinary care to treat airway disorders, lung cancer, and pleural diseases
  • lung transplantation
  • neuromuscular disease, which refers to conditions that occur due to respiratory muscle failure
  • obstructive lung disease, which involves airway narrowing or obstruction
  • sleep-disordered breathing

    Conditions pulmonologists commonly treat include:

    • asthma
    • bronchiectasis, which occurs when your lungs can’t clear mucus
    • bronchitis, which happens when you have inflamed mucous membranes
    • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes an airflow blockage
    • emphysema, which happens when the alveoli in your lungs are damaged
    • interstitial lung diseases, which affect the space and tissue around the alveoli
    • occupational lung diseases, which can occur due to the inhalation of dusts, chemicals, or proteins
    • obstructive sleep apnea, which causes your breathing to slow or stop entirely when you’re sleeping

      They may refer you to a pulmonologist if you:

      • have difficulty breathing
      • have a persistent cough
      • regularly cough up blood