A respiratory specialist is sometimes called a lung specialist and they are a type of medical professional who specialises in the human breathing system which encompasses our lung functionas well as our airways and how we breathe. Their job is to understand everything connected to the way in which we breathe and to diagnose, treat and help to prevent the symptoms and causes of lung disease. They also study respiratory (breathing) and sleep, and how the two are connected and can sometimes form a sleep disorder.
What does a respiratory specialist do?
A respiratory specialist or respiratory physician is a medical doctor who specialises in respiratory medicine. They will undertake all of the same qualifications as a standard medical doctor and then may move into areas of study as a pulmonologist which incorporates medical services relating to our pulmonary function and our cardiovascular system. They may sometimes consult with a cardiologist or sleep specialist operating out of special hospitals and clinics like a sleep clinic to diagnose a range of issues ranging from lung cancer to sleep apnoea.
Services typically provided by a respiratory specialist will include the diagnosis and treatment of disorders like:
- Breathing-related sleep disorders (sleep apnoea)
- Lung cancer
- Chronic cough
- Pulmonary vascular disorders (circulation of blood through the lungs)
Surgical procedures that they may offer include:
- Lobectomy (removal of one of the lobes of the lung)
- Lung biopsies and transplants
- Interventional pulmonology (relatively new procedures combining endoscopy and other tools to diagnose and treat chest conditions and lung disease)
Medical tests they may offer or take part in include:
- Lung function tests
- Sleep studies
- Pleural ultrasounds
Referral to any specialist, including a respiratory specialist, usually occurs when your regular doctor(who may be a GP or a specialist in another area of medicine like sleep medicine) believes your condition or illness to be specific to respiratory health and requires a medical professional who is able to offer specialised and expert care in this area.
In the case of a sleep physician, your condition may be related to obstructive sleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a type of condition in which the airways collapse either partially or fully and cessation of normal breathing occurs while a person with this condition is asleep. It is a difficult condition to self-diagnose owing to how subtle the symptoms can be when a person is able to consciously experience them. Common symptoms a sufferer will experience, but may not necessarily assume is related to OSA, include:
- Unusual tiredness and fatigue throughout the day
- An inability to stay alert or concentrate for long periods of time
- Irritability and a general low or depressed mood
All of these symptoms can be caused by a range of other life factors, including our work or home environments and how much we have on our plate. Restful sleep, or a lack of it, can also be caused by emotional stress just as emotional stress can be caused by a lack of restful sleep.
Identifying the cause of irregular tiredness and the urge to nap throughout the day could help to bring you a new lease on life. Understanding your heart and lung health and how important your sleep cycle is to maintaining good health is exactly what a respiratory specialist can help you with. They will help you understand the relationship between your circulation and your lungs, between your lungs and your heart, and between your breathing and your energy levels. It’s all inter-connected and it can all go haywire due to improper or poor quality sleep cycles.
A common symptom of the condition will usually be heavy and frequent snoring while sleeping. This is not to suggest that everybody who snores will or should be diagnosed with sleep apnoea, only that it is commonly connected to the condition and could be an early-warning sign of a potentially larger and more serious respiratory problem.
Usually the snorer is not alerted to these symptoms until somebody like a partner informs them of their sleeping habits. If you believe that you are at risk of a sleeping condition like sleep apnoea or have been referred to a respiratory specialist for further testing, the CPAP Clinic can help to arrange your sleep study through our partnership with Centurion Health. Medicare eligible patients are able to claim a sleep study in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. If you are a resident in Adelaide and Perth, you can contact one of our sleep consultants to find out more information about how you can find a sleep study or clinic in your region.
With the rise of telehealth services around Australia filling in for regular GP consultations and even mental health assistance, getting the help and understanding you need to obtain restful and productive sleep has never been easier. Now you can book an appointment remotely for an initial consultation from the comfort of your own home.
If you have been referred to the CPAP Clinic by a respiratory specialist for help managing your condition then we can carry out our usual consultations, previously held exclusively at our clinic locations around Australia, completely online. Whether you are isolated by choice or necessity, you are now able to access the same top-quality care and management services of your sleep disorder from the more convenient and private location of your own home.
We can help you to develop an affordable treatment plan and monitoring program for your sleep apnoea treatment, providing you with independent advice and expert assistance in choosing you preferred management method. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is the most effective treatment of sleep apnoea and the CPAP Clinic is able to offer a range of devices from the best and world-leading medical brands including ResMed, Phillips Respironics and Fishery & Paykel. We choose and recommend what is best for our clients which means that you get completely independent advice regarding our entire product range from expert professionals who understand each machine and its accessories, accessibility and ease of use for home and for travel. We can help you source the right kind of CPAP or BiPAP machine for your condition and help you adjust to the apparatus you need to acquire productive and comfortable sleep.
Getting used to wearing a mask and using a machine to keep your breathing regular while you sleep can be a difficult adjust to make initially. We’re here to help you find the most comfortable fit at the most affordable cost for your condition. This includes checking in with your progress and helping you to understand the analytics your CPAP machine will provide you with. You will be able to monitor your own improvement even as you begin to feel more rested, healthier and more energised day after day.
Contact one of our consultants now either by phone on 1300 76 29 39 or log on to our website to chat with someone 24/7. Wecan take you through any information you need about arranging a sleep study or what your respiratory specialist has recommended for your CPAP therapy. It has never been a better time to address what you need to maintain good health and a happy, restful and productive life.