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How to choose an asthma doctor

If you have asthma, it’s important to carefully select an asthma specialist – a doctor who understands respiratory problems and treats asthma – as your health care provider. Here are some asthma specialists to consider:

Allergist. An allergist is a pediatrician or internist who has taken additional training to qualify as a specialist in allergy and immunology. An allergist specializes in allergies, asthma, and allergic asthma.

Internist. An internist is a doctor who specializes in internal medicine – the study of diseases in adults, particularly those related to internal organs – and who has completed three years of training after medical school.

Pediatrician. A pediatrician is a doctor who has three years of special training after medical school in the care of children from birth though college. A pediatrician can diagnose and treat childhood asthma.
Pulmonologist. A pulmonologist has taken two or three additional years of training following residency in internal medicine or pediatrics to qualify as a specialist in respiratory diseases. Some pulmonologists may get additional board certification in critical-care medicine.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Therapist. While not a physician, this nurse or respiratory therapist is trained in pulmonary rehabilitation techniques and can provide asthma support and information on exercise and asthma, lung function, and stress and asthma. The pulmonary rehabilitation therapist can help educate you on how to care for your symptoms of asthma.