Pulmonologists in Nashville and Bowling Green

Our TriStar Health hospitals across the Greater Nashville and Southern Kentucky regions offer access to expert pulmonologists who treat lung and respiratory issues, such as asthma and chronic bronchitis. Respiratory issues often require long-term care, so we work with you and your family to make informed decisions about the best treatment options.

For more information about pulmonary care at TriStar Health, contact our Ask-A-Nurse phone service at (615) 514-0757.

What is the respiratory system?

The respiratory system is made up of three major parts: the airway, lungs and upper chest and neck muscles. This system brings oxygen into the body through inhalation and removes carbon dioxide in exhalation. It involves several mechanisms throughout the body to function properly. Whenever any one of those mechanisms fails to do its job correctly, a respiratory issue occurs.

When to see a pulmonologist

If you are experiencing a minor allergy-related cough or cold, you can likely resolve the issue by visiting your closest urgent care. However, if you have a severe cough, or one that lasts for more than three weeks, a visit to a pulmonologist may be needed. A pulmonologist is a doctor who specializes in studying and treating issues, diseases and disorders of the respiratory system.

You should also see a pulmonologist if you are experiencing any of the following:

  • Asthma with unidentified triggers or that is difficult to control
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Chronic or recurring bronchitis
  • Difficulty breathing (especially during exercise)
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Severe colds that affect your respiratory system
  • Wheezing

Our lung specialists are dedicated to working together to care for pulmonary patients of all ages. When you visit a TriStar Health facility, we help you understand your condition and determine an individualized treatment plan. We also collaborate with other medical professionals involved in your care to make sure they have all the information they need.

Pulmonary conditions we treat

Lung conditions vary in severity and symptoms, but they are all marked by difficulty in breathing. We diagnose, treat and monitor all types of pulmonary issues. Some of the ones we see most commonly are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and lung cancer.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition that makes breathing difficult because of irritants that narrow or swell the airways and create an overproduction of mucus. Asthma often develops in childhood but can also develop later in life. The severity of asthma ranges from mild to severe. Although there is no cure for asthma, there are many treatments that improve quality of life.

Infections, irritants (such as perfume) allergies, exercise and weather can all cause an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can be treated with a rescue inhaler, but sometimes emergency care is needed.

COPD

COPD is a chronic lung disease that makes it difficult to breathe. There are two types of COPD - emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Chronic bronchitis causes a persistent cough and excessive mucus production. Emphysema is a disease that worsens with time and causes shortness of breath. COPD is among the most commonly diagnosed pulmonary conditions. There is no cure, but medications and other treatment options can alleviate discomfort.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is cancer that originates in the lungs. The single biggest risk factor for lung cancer is smoking, which has been linked to 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Secondhand smoke is also a risk factor, along with exposure to radioactive substances, such as radon, and a poor diet.

Additional lung and respiratory conditions we treat

Other pulmonary conditions we treat are:

  • Bronchitis
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Occupational lung diseases, including:
    • Farmer’s lung
    • Asbestosis
    • Byssinosis (brown lung disease)
    • Silicosis
    • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP)
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Rheumatoid lung disease
  • Sarcoidosis

Pediatric pulmonology

Children get colds quite often, but if your child also experiences chronic or recurring chest congestion, coughing or wheezing, a pediatric pulmonologist can help. The pulmonary specialists at The Children’s Hospital at TriStar Centennial provide a wide range of pediatric pulmonary services so your child can get back to breathing freely again.