How Many Doctors Does it Take?
There are some people with asthma whose illness is pretty straightforward to treat. Maybe your primary care doctor can manage your disease or you may have to be referred to a specialist. My asthma is more on the extreme side and can often be difficult to treat. Because of that, I use a team of doctors to help manage my asthma. Together, my primary care doctor, allergy immunology specialists, and pulmonologist work to manage my asthma.
The many doctors that help me manage my asthma
Primary care physician
We will start with my primary care doctor. She is great at what she does. She understands the complexity of my health issues. She knows what she can handle and when she needs to refer out. That is the case with my asthma. If I am in a pinch and need steroids or antibiotics to help with my symptoms, she is more than willing to help me out. But as far as controlling my symptoms, she always defers to my pulmonologist. Controlling my asthma is out of her scope of practice, and she is the first to admit that. That being said, she is still intimately involved in my asthma journey. She communicates with my pulmonologist directly, and together they help manage most of my symptoms.
But I also see an allergy/immunology specialist. Allergies and asthma go hand in hand. I see my allergist for a number of different reasons, namely an autoimmune condition that brings on symptoms that are very similar to allergies, but he’s still an essential part of my asthma treatment team. Because my autoimmune disease mimics allergies, it’s important for my allergist to be included in managing my asthma. He too communicates with my pulmonologist, especially when my care overlaps the two specialties.
And that brings me to The Good Doctor. I wrote an article all about him, which you can read here. He’s the one who really and truly manages my asthma. He’s the one who constantly keeps an eye on my asthma symptoms and adjusts my medications as needed. He keeps me up to date on vaccines that affect my pulmonary health. He keeps track of pulmonary function tests and chest CTs. He makes recommendations for my health as a whole since asthma is one of my predominant health issues. If you read my article about the time it wasn’t my asthma, you’ll know that I’m on blood thinners. My pulmonologist also manages that medication too. He does a lot for me and has even saved my life once or twice. He is one of the most important doctors I have.
The importance of teamwork
Having multiple chronic conditions, it’s critical that I have a doctor that specializes in those diseases, but more than that, it is important that my doctors be able to communicate with each other so that I can get the best care possible. Having a team of doctors treating my asthma means more eyes to monitor my condition, more input on treatment options, and most importantly, better control of my asthma.
Who treats your asthma? Is your primary care doctor able to manage your symptoms or do you have a team of doctors like me? Let us know in the comments!
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