Granger Pulmonology & Sleep Medicine Introduction
Pulmonology is the study of medicine associated with diseases of the lungs and bronchial tubes, which may also involve evaluation of the upper respiratory tract (nose, pharynx and throat) as well as the heart. Pulmonary care includes any specialized care relating to the lungs and is often classified as an internal medicine subspecialty. Pulmonologists are often referred to as respiratory physicians.
Simply stated, a patient would see a pulmonologist for concerns related to lungs and breathing that fall outside the realm of primary care. Common issues that a patient may be seen for include pneumonia, asthma, tuberculosis, emphysema, and other complicated chest infections. In addition, a pulmonologist may also work closely with a critical care provider, to take care of patients that require mechanical ventilation or who may need to be on oxygen support.
Consultation, diagnoses and treatments from a pulmonology provider may include a variety of procedures: laboratory, spirometry (determination of lung volumes determined by breathing into a special machine), chest x-rays, CT scanning, sleep studies, medications, and more.
Sleep medicine is a subspecialty of pulmonology dedicated to the diagnosis and therapy of sleep disturbances and disorders. Sleep medicine may also be a subspecialty of neurology, internal medicine or psychiatry. And because proper sleep plays such an essential role in good health, it is important to consult an expert for difficulties or issues.
Sleep specialists study and treat issues such as excessive snoring, sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and circadian rhythm disorders. Other conditions may include bedwetting, nightmares, night terrors, periodic limb movement disorder/restless leg syndrome, REM behavior disorder, sleep paralysis, sleepwalking, teeth grinding, and more.
Diagnosis and treatment typically includes a comprehensive evaluation to assess personal and family history, lab tests, physical examination, and sometimes a sleep study which consists of an overnight stay in a sleep center.