Lung Specialist Singapore: Why you May be Referred to One

Good lung health is integral to overall well-being. When referred to a lung specialist in Singapore, it’s crucial to follow through.

These experts possess specialized knowledge and tools to diagnose and treat lung conditions accurately. Neglecting such referrals may mean missing critical early interventions for potential issues.

Specialists can pinpoint problems that general practitioners might overlook. Addressing lung concerns with a specialist ensures tailored care, enhancing the chances of effective treatment and improved lung health. But under what circumstances would you be referred to a lung specialist? Find out below, and how to choose a good lung specialist.

Why am I Being Referred to a Lung Specialist?

As already mentioned, lung health is paramount to overall well-being. Our lungs, the respiratory powerhouses, ensure our bodies receive vital oxygen while expelling carbon dioxide. When facing potential lung problems, seeking help from your specialist in Singapore is prudent.

Their qualifications equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to not just diagnose. They’re also capable of treating a wide range of respiratory issues. Here are some seven possible explanations why you’re being referred to a lung specialist;

  1. Chronic Respiratory Symptoms: Persistent symptoms like chronic cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or chest pain shouldn’t just be brushed aside. They may indicate underlying respiratory issues. Consulting a lung specialist ensures a thorough evaluation. You’re also guaranteed tailored treatment for conditions like asthma, bronchitis, or pulmonary fibrosis, preventing complications.
  2. Asthma Management: While general practitioners manage mild to moderate asthma cases, severe or poorly controlled asthma requires specialized care. Your lung specialist in Singapore can assess the severity, identify triggers, and adjust treatment plans. They can also provide valuable guidance on lifestyle changes and inhaler techniques for better asthma control.
  3. COPD Diagnosis and Management: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Lung specialists excel in accurate COPD diagnosis through advanced tests like spirometry. They design personalized treatment strategies, which may involve inhalers, pulmonary rehabilitation, or oxygen therapy, to slow disease progression and enhance quality of life.
  4. Interstitial Lung Disease: Unexplained, persistent lung symptoms with abnormal imaging findings may necessitate consultation with an interstitial lung disease specialist. These experts diagnose and manage conditions affecting lung tissue, such as pulmonary fibrosis, employing advanced diagnostics and tailored therapies.
  5. Lung Cancer Screening and Treatment: Lung specialists play a pivotal role in the early detection of lung cancer. They interpret imaging results, conduct biopsies, and devise comprehensive treatment plans, including surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy. Timely intervention significantly improves the chances of successful treatment and survival.
  6. Sleep Disorders: Sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders adversely affect overall health. Lung specialists evaluate symptoms, recommend sleep studies, and prescribe appropriate treatments, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Managing these disorders enhances sleep quality and reduces associated health risks.
  7. Occupational Lung Diseases: Workers exposed to hazards like asbestos or toxic chemicals should consult a lung specialist. These specialists assess lung function, provide guidance on workplace safety measures, and manage work-related lung conditions. Early intervention safeguards lung health and ensures a safe working environment.

How Does a Lung Specialist Check your Lungs?

Lung specialists are trained to evaluate lung health comprehensively. They use a variety of methods to assess symptoms and arrive at a diagnosis. Here are four ways a lung specialist can check your lungs;

1.      Initial Assessment of Symptoms

The process of assessing lung health typically begins with an in-depth conversation between you and the pulmonologist. This initial consultation is vital because it allows the specialist to gather essential information about your medical history, lifestyle, and specific symptoms. During this discussion, they will likely ask about;

  • Symptoms: Describe any symptoms you’ve been experiencing, such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, wheezing, or coughing up blood. The specialist will want to know when these symptoms started, their frequency, and any factors that worsen or alleviate them.
  • Medical History: Provide information about your medical history, including any previous lung conditions, surgeries, or chronic illnesses. Mention if you’ve been exposed to environmental factors like smoking, pollutants, or toxins.
  • Family History: Some lung conditions can be hereditary, so the specialist may inquire about your family’s health history, especially concerning lung diseases.
  • Lifestyle Factors: Discuss your lifestyle choices, such as smoking habits, occupation, and recent travel history. These details can help identify potential triggers or risk factors.

2.      Physical Examination

After discussing your symptoms and history, your lung specialist in Singapore will conduct a physical examination. This involves listening to your chest with a stethoscope. The aim is to detect any abnormal sounds like wheezing or crackles.

They may also examine your overall physical condition. This may include an assessment of your respiratory rate, heart rate, and oxygen levels.

3.      Diagnostic Tests

Based on the initial assessment, the pulmonologist may recommend various diagnostic tests to gain a more comprehensive understanding of your lung health. These tests can include;

  • Pulmonary Function Tests (PFTs): PFTs are a series of breathing tests that measure lung capacity and function. Spirometry is a common PFT. It assesses how much air you can inhale and exhales, and how quickly you can do so. This test can help diagnose asthma. It can also help with the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Chest X-rays: X-rays provide detailed images of your chest, including your lungs and surrounding structures. They can reveal abnormalities like infections, tumors, or fluid buildup.
  • CT Scans: Computed tomography (CT) scans offer more detailed images than X-rays. They’re useful for detecting smaller lesions, blood clots, or other abnormalities within the lungs.
  • Bronchoscopy: This procedure involves inserting a thin, flexible tube with a camera (bronchoscope) through your nose or mouth and into your airways. It allows the pulmonologist to directly view the air passages, take samples, and perform certain treatments.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests can help identify specific markers of lung diseases, such as elevated white blood cell counts in cases of infection or specific antibodies in autoimmune lung disorders.
  • Sputum Analysis: If you’re experiencing coughing with sputum production, the specialist may collect a sample of your sputum for laboratory analysis. This can help diagnose infections like tuberculosis or pneumonia.
  • Lung Biopsy: In some cases, a lung biopsy may be necessary to confirm a diagnosis. This involves removing a small sample of lung tissue for examination, often through a bronchoscope or a more invasive procedure like a needle biopsy or surgical biopsy.

4.      Advanced Imaging and Testing

In complex cases or when initial tests are inconclusive, your pulmonologist may recommend more advanced procedures. These can include;

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI scans provide detailed images of the lungs and surrounding structures. They offer additional information for diagnosis.
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scans: PET scans are useful for detecting lung cancer or assessing the extent of cancer spread. For these tests, the lung specialist will inject a small amount of radioactive material into your bloodstream.
  • Lung Function Imaging: Some specialized centers offer nuclear medicine tests that assess lung ventilation and perfusion. These tests are particularly useful for evaluating blood flow and airflow in the lungs.
  • Sleep Studies: For individuals with sleep-related breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea, sleep studies can be essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.

In Closing

Your GP’s referral to a lung specialist is a proactive step toward better respiratory health. These specialists possess a deep understanding of the intricacies of the respiratory system.

So, they are best placed to provide you with the precise care and guidance needed to manage or resolve lung issues. We have a dedicated team of lung specialists always ready to lend a helping hand.

If you’ve been advised to see a lung specialist in Singapore, get in touch to schedule an appointment. Call or visit us at;

The International Centre for Thoracic Surgery

38 Irrawaddy Road #10-38

Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre

Singapore 329563

+65 6591 8801