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All You Need to Know about Lung Specialists in Singapore

    The respiratory system is the organ system responsible for a person’s breathing. The central organ that drives the respiratory system is the lungs, a pair of organs located just beneath a person’s ribcage and positioned on either side of the heart. The lungs are responsible for exchanging oxygen with carbon dioxide every time a person breathes in and out. To learn more about the lungs, visit

    What does a lung specialist in Singapore do?

    A lung specialist in Singapore is a doctor who specializes in dealing with conditions and diseases of the lungs and other parts of your respiratory system, such as the nose, throat, airways, trachea, and blood vessels. Although a general practitioner should be able to help you deal with common respiratory diseases like pneumonia, a lung specialist or pulmonologist should be able to give you better, more specialized advice and treatments. The study of the human respiratory system and its diseases is called pulmonology. It is a sub specialization of internal medicine, which is the study of internal diseases. 

    Doctors who choose to specialize in pulmonology can also further specialize in some specific diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary fibrosis, or they can also specialize on treating different demographics, such as children (pediatric) or older people (geriatric).

    Many people often get confused whether to see a lung specialist (pulmonologist) or a heart specialist (cardiologist) because diseases that affect the heart and lungs often exhibit the same or similar symptoms, like chest pain. Because of this, you will often find lung specialists work together with heart specialists to diagnose patients, especially in hospitals and internal medicine clinics.

    What types of diseases can a lung specialist treat?

    A lung specialist is an expert in treating diseases that affect the lungs and the respiratory system, such as:

    • Asthma – a common chronic disease that affects nearly 4% of the human population. It causes a person’s airways to be narrow and to swell and secrete extra mucus. This makes it harder for the affected person to breathe and makes him/her cough and wheeze. Although asthma is an incurable disease, it can be controlled with the help of a lung specialist. Asthma attacks can be life-threatening, and it is important that children and adults who have the disease are fully informed on how to deal with the said disease.
    • Cystic fibrosis – a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, digestive tract, and other organs. This disorder causes mucus-producing cells in these organs to secrete thick, sticky mucus instead of what normally is thin, slippery mucus. Due to this change, mucus no longer works as a lubricant and instead blocks tubes, ducts, and passageways in the said organs.
    • Lung cancer – one of the most common cancers, responsible for nearly 12% of all cancer patients in the world. Many pulmonologists specialize further into lung cancer due to the sheer amount of people who have the disease.
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – is a blanket term for several chronic diseases that lead to obstructed airways. The two most common diseases under COPD are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
    • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a breathing disorder that is observed when a person sleeps. People with OSA repeatedly block or narrow their airways when they sleep, causing them to have reduced oxygen inhalation, and decreasing the amount of oxygen supplied to the rest of the body.
    • Pneumonia – a serious lung infection that causes the alveoli in the lungs to become inflamed and filled with pus
    • Tuberculosis (TB) – an infectious disease caused by bacteria and spread through the air. TB can be a very serious condition, and it is important that it is treated as early as possible to increase the chances of curing it.

    When should you see a lung specialist?

    Oftentimes, a person who sees a lung specialist in Singapore are usually advised to do so by another doctor based on the person’s symptoms and diagnostic test results. However, if you exhibit any of the following symptoms, you can go straight and see a lung specialist:

    • Chronic coughing – If you have a cough that doesn’t go away on its own (usually after a week or two), it might be best to see a lung specialist as soon as you can.
    • Chest pain or tightness – One of the most common symptoms of a lung disease is feeling pain or tightness in the chest. This is, however, also a common symptom of a heart disease. Your lung specialist should be able to see after checkup whether you need to see a cardiologist or not.
    • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
    • Wheezing
    • Extreme fatigue in the daytime or very loud snoring at night – both of these are common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

    What should you expect on your visit to a lung specialist in Singapore?

    A visit to a lung specialist will usually first involve filling up a medical history form and a short physical examination. After this, the lung specialist will ask you about what your problem is, and you should be able to give a good summary about your symptoms. 

    Depending on this information, your lung specialist will ask you to take a few tests in order to diagnose your exact problem. Some of these tests include:

    • Blood tests – these tests will check your blood for some information, such as its oxygen level and blood type.
    • X-ray – an X-ray image of your lungs and airways will give the lung specialist vital information for the diagnosis
    • Bronchoscopy – in this test, a thin, lighted tube called the bronchoscope is inserted into the nose or mouth and moved towards the airways and into the lungs. This allows the lung specialist to see directly inside your airways, voice box, trachea, and lungs to look for any signs of disease.

    Once the results of the tests are available, your lung specialist will either give you more tests, refer you to a different specialist, or give you his/her diagnosis on your health problem. Your lung specialist will also give you some treatment options and on how to proceed next in treatment. If you feel like you don’t understand something, do not hesitate to ask questions as your lung specialist will be happy to answer them for you.

    IP Lung Clinic

    Interventional Pulmonology & lung Clinic

    Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre, 3 Mount Elizabeth, #12-03, Singapore 228510

    +65 9023 0158