Pulmonology

At Westchester Health, our Pulmonology Department consists of board trained and certified physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the respiratory system.

Our pulmonologists all have extensive experience in their field, using the latest technology and techniques to treat and provide preventative care for all types of lung and breathing disorders including asthma, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, emphysema, lung disease, pneumonia, sleep apnea and tuberculosis.

Prevention as well as treatment

At Westchester Health, our focus is not only on the evaluation and treatment of pulmonary disorders but also on preventative care. In addition to providing the highest quality of respiratory system care, our Pulmonology group works closely with your primary care provider and other specialists to implement a total treatment plan customized for your specific condition to achieve the best possible outcome. We also focus on educating you and your family about lifestyle changes you can make to control, improve or even eradicate your lung or breathing disorder.

What makes Westchester Health’s Pulmonology Department different?

At Westchester Health, we firmly believe that good treatment starts with good listening. We also believe that the best patient is an informed patient, and that patient education is critical to your long-term health.

From the first time you arrive at our offices, we spend as much time with you and your family as is necessary to make sure you understand your condition, the diagnostic tests we are recommending and all of your treatment options. Throughout your journey with us, we will continue to explain our recommended course of treatment and answer any questions you may have so that you understand what to expect.

Whether you have been with Westchester Health for years or are new to our practice, you quickly recognize that our Pulmonology group truly cares about each and every one of our patients. When you need us, we are here for you.

Always at the forefront of medicine

The world of medicine continues to change and evolve, especially regarding pulmonology. As part of Northwell Health, our pulmonologists participate in its Department of Pulmonology training programs, making sure they are continually up-to-date on the newest breakthrough treatments for our patients’ pulmonary conditions. This emphasis on ongoing training also ensures that our pulmonologists have ready access to the latest technological advances in pulmonary care.

Pulmonologists are experts at treating a variety of lung and breathing disorders, including:

Asthma

Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways to become inflamed, making it hard to breathe and causing coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and/or chest tightness. For many asthma sufferers, their symptoms are brought on by triggers such as dust mites, animal dander, mold, pollen, smoke, bronchial infections and physical activity. Asthma also affects millions of children (childhood asthma). The best way to manage asthma is to avoid triggers, take medication to prevent symptoms, and know how to treat an asthmatic episode (asthma attack) if it occurs.

Bronchitis

Bronchitis can be a viral infection or a bacterial infection. Both cause your bronchial tubes (which carry air to your lungs) to get infected, swollen and full of mucus. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and a hacking cough that produces phlegm. Acute bronchitis may be accompanied by an upper respiratory infection. Chronic bronchitis, most often seen in heavy smokers, can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Treatment usually includes rest, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding smoking and irritating fumes. When the bronchitis is bacterial, doctors may treat it with antibiotics. In chronic cases, steroid inhalers and supplemental oxygen may be necessary.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs airflow from the lungs and makes it hard to breathe. Symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness, producing a great deal of mucus, wheezing, weight loss, fatigue and frequent colds or flu. Approximately 90% of people with COPD are current or former smokers. Severe COPD can also bring about swollen legs or feet and loss of muscle strength. Treatments include quitting smoking, avoiding triggers, taking medications and exercising to try to increase lung capacity.

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that causes mucus in the body to become thick, sticky and glue-like. This mucus builds up and causes problems in the lungs and the pancreas, leading to serious breathing problems and lung disease, as well as problems with nutrition, digestion, growth and development. There is no cure for cystic fibrosis but people of all ages with CF can manage their disease by following a regular treatment regimen that includes clearing mucus from the lungs, medication, exercise and nutritional therapies.

Emphysema

Emphysema is a form of chronic lung disease and is the main type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People with emphysema have difficulty breathing due to a limited ability to blow air out. There are multiple causes of emphysema, but smoking is by far the most common. Emphysema has no cure, but quitting smoking may help slow its progression.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is the deadliest type of cancer for both men and women. Each year, more people die from lung cancer than from breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, but lung cancer can also affect people who have never smoked. Other factors that increase your risk of lung cancer include exposure to asbestos and other cancer-causing chemicals, a family history of lung cancer, high levels of air pollution, arsenic in drinking water and radiation therapy to the lungs. Treatments range from chemotherapy and radiation to immunotherapy, and depend upon a number of factors, such as your overall health, the type and stage of your cancer, and your preferences.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is an infection—usually brought on by bacteria, viruses or fungi—that causes the air sacs in one or both lungs to become inflamed. These air sacs fill with fluid or pus, causing coughing, fever, chills, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Ranging in seriousness from mild to life-threatening, pneumonia is most dangerous for infants and young children, people older than 65, and those with health problems or weakened immune systems. Treatment for pneumonia involves overcoming the infection and preventing complications, and usually includes antibiotics, pain relievers and prescription-strength cough medicine. For individuals 50 years old and older, or those with impaired immune systems at any age, the Pnuemovax®23 vaccine is often prescribed.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person stops breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means that the brain is partially deprived of oxygen throughout the person’s sleep cycle. If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, stroke, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, diabetes, depression, headaches and ADHD. Treatments include avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, changing sleep positions to improve breathing, stopping smoking, a therapy called continuous positive airway pressure, dental devices and surgery.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs and is spread through droplets in the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks or laughs. Symptoms include a bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer, chest pain, coughing up blood or mucus, feeling weak, unexplained weight loss, chills, fever, night sweats and no appetite. Tuberculosis is almost always curable with antibiotics.

We offer the following treatments and tests to determine damage to or disease of the lungs:

  • CT scan
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Bronchial thermoplasty
  • Chest fluoroscopy
  • Chest ultrasound
  • Endobronchial ultrasound (EBUS)
  • Lobectomy
  • Pleural biopsy
  • Pulmonary function test
  • Pulse oximetry test
  • Sleep study
  • Thoracentesis
  • Transplantation

If you smoke, one of the most important things you can do for your own health and the health of your children is to stop.

Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your own health and the health of everyone in your family, including pets. To help you stop smoking, Westchester Health has a smoking cessation program. For information, click here. There are also many OTC and prescription medicines that can help you quit.

Plus, every state has a QuitLine. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to be connected to the one in your area and for local resources to help you quit.

Additional smoking cessation resources:

 

To learn more, please read our blogs on these subjects.

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