Are You My Doctor?

People have asked frequently about lung doctors and who are they. Is there someone else they should be seeing? They wonder if they are getting the right medications, because medications that they are getting, are seldom posted about by others.

Who should I be seeing for my COPD?

We don’t just see one doctor or medical person very often anymore. It seems everyone has their own specialty. I voiced my frustration one day, after seeing eight different doctors in one week. As one person told me, think of it this way, each of these doctors can focus specifically in their own specialty and which they were trained to do. So, they can give you the best care because they only focus on your needs which is why you are here today. After hearing that, I felt pretty good, knowing that my specialist was taking care of my particular needs.

CRT – Certified Respiratory Therapist: The CRT is the first-level credential offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. CRTs commonly treat patients with lung diseases like asthma and emphysema. They administer oxygen through ventilation devices, as well as nebulizer treatments. They may also help patients who have had a heart attack or stroke regain normal breathing function. We have Respiratory Therapists that write for us here on COPD.net. I feel like I learn so much from them.

CRTT – Certified Respiratory Therapist Technicians: These are now known as CRT (Certified Respiratory Therapist).

GP – General Physician or General Practitioner: This doctor is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses. A GP provides preventive care along with health education to patients. My local GP is first in line. That means that with any new health issue that comes up, I see him and he refers me to the specialist that he would like me to see. My GP oversees all of my health care so that he knows what is going on. If I need to see a doctor or go to ER, this doctor is the first one to treat me with this specific health issue, such as pneumonia. Also new and/or other health issues. Example: The flu, bladder infection, etc. I do like my GP and a couple of other GPs and PAs at the clinic as well.

IM – Internal Medicine: This specialty is dedicated to the diagnosis and medical treatment of adults. A physician who specializes in internal medicine is referred to as an internist. I have had internists that have coordinated my care also. They were wonderful doctors, but once they stopped coming to my town, it was too much for me to drive to see them. So local doctors made more sense and I’m happy with them.

OT – Occupational Therapy/Therapist: With people of all ages, occupational therapists work with those who need specialized assistance to lead independent, productive, and satisfying lives. These people may have physical, developmental, social, or emotional problems. Using the occupations of self-care, work or leisure activities, this helps to increase independence, strengthen development and to help prevent disability. After my hand surgeries, on my thumbs, I had to go to OT. I squeezed sponges to strengthen my thumbs and had to put pegs in holes. That might sound easy, but it isn’t. It’s hard work getting function and strength back. That is the therapy that you would expect occupational therapy to be. OT is also used for those with COPD. Years ago, when diagnosed with COPD, they taught me how to breathe, especially the pursed lip breathing, over and over again. It’s important to know how to do that, you do pursed lip breathing when you are short of breath, anxious, upset, when you may be feeling a CO2 (carbon dioxide) headache, and I even do that when my pain is bad. It helps me focus and is calming.

Pulm – Pulmonologist: Merriam Webster says a pulmonologist is a specialist in the anatomy, physiology, and pathology of the lungs. To the point, a pulmonologist is a lung doctor. This doctor likely gave you a spirometry test to diagnose you. Maybe someone else diagnosed you and you were referred to your lung doctor. It’s good to have a pulmonologist if possible for COPDers. They know lungs, how they work, function, should look and possibly feel. They know the best medications for your COPD and other things that may be affecting your lungs, such as an exacerbation, pneumonia, and more, as well as the best way to treat you. My pulmonologist directs my care with a cardiologist and recommends tests. He/she is likely the one who would first notice cancer in the lungs as well. You would likely be referred to an oncologist.

RT – Radiologic Technologists: These are the health care professionals who do the diagnostic imaging procedures: X-Ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging scans), CT (computed tomography) scans. Some of these techs also do mammography, sonography and ultrasounds. Here we have traveling Techs, who come from another clinic or hospital to help out in the various radiology fields once a week or maybe once a month, it varies.

Your health is important, so are you.

If for any reason you don’t feel that you are receiving the best care or because you and your doctor aren’t getting along the way you would like to, you can see another doctor. If you would like a specialist, such as a pulmonologist, ask your doctor to refer you. Your health is important, so are you.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The COPD.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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