Welcome Pulmonary FAQ Physicians Staff Hours & Fees Links Contact Us

Aiken Pulmonary Associates
68 Physician Drive
Aiken, South Carolina 29801
(803) 643-1090

Pulmonary FAQ

E-mail us to request literature on any of these topics.

What is Pulmonology?
Pulmonology is the branch of internal medicine that diagnoses and treats diseases and abnormalities of the chest and lungs, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. The most common reasons patients are referred to a pulmonologist are a persistent cough lasting three weeks or longer, shortness of breath and wheezing.

Although some of these diseases typically have their onset later in life, others strike during childhood or young adulthood. Certain difficulties can be treated or cured with medication, while others require a change in the patient's lifestyle. Our physicians have treated adults of all ages, for problems ranging from chronic sinusitis to respiratory failure.

What is Asthma, and what can I do about it?
No one is sure what causes asthma, and so far there'e no cure for it. But we do know that asthma is a chronic condition in which substances or conditions called triggers cause the air passages in the lungs become inflamed and swollen. Triggers can be one or more of many things, such as:

  • Allergens (animal hair, house dust, mold or pollen, etc.)
  • Air pollutants (car exhaust, cigarette smoke, aerosol sprays, colognes and perfumes, household chemicals, etc.)
  • Weather conditions (heat and humidity, or even cold and dry air)
  • Certain medications (aspirin, ibuprofen, and some prescription drugs)
When the air passages are inflamed by these triggers, they become overly sensitive, and any irritant, no matter how small, can irritate them and cause an asthma attack. This is the wheezing and chest tightness asthma sufferers experience, and an asthma attack is nothing to be taken lightly. They can be debilitating, and even possibly fatal in not attended to immediately.

Our physicians can evaluate you to determine a treatment plan that will best keep your asthma under control. Before developing a treatment plan, it helps to know your triggers and symptoms and whether you have any other problems with your lungs or air passages. To determine this, one of our physicians will examine you and perform some tests. Based on the results of this evaluation, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that will help you prevent asthma symptoms and teach you what to do when you feel symptoms occurring.

I snore so bad it keeps me and others awake at night. Is this a health problem?
Snoring happens when air can't flow freely through the passage in your throat. As you probably know, the resulting rasps and rattles can disrupt the sleep of those around you. But snoring can also disrupt your own sleep and may even be a sign of a serious condition called sleep apnea. When a person has sleep apnea, the throat becomes blocked during the night, stopping breathing for short periods of time. If you have sleep apnea, your spouse may hear you alternate between snoring very loudly and being very quiet. You may even gasp or snort in your sleep. Other symptoms include:

  • Waking up tired, even after a full night's sleep
  • Waking up with a headache
  • Feeling very sleepy or falling asleep at inappropriate times, such as at work or at the wheel of an automobile
  • Irritability and a short temper
  • Problems with concentration or memory
Snoring and sleep apnea rarely go away on their own, but they can be treated. Our physicians can evaluate you and recommend a treatment plan to help you sleep quietly and breathe freely. This plan may include changes that you make yourself, as well as medical devices or surgery that our physicians prescribe. Quieting your snoring may mean you have sound and refreshing sleep without annoying your family or others around you. Preventing or controlling sleep apnea can improve your own quality of life and help ward off serious health problems.

Dr. Sanito's name is followed by the initials "D.O." What is a D.O.?
If you're like most people, you've been going to the doctor ever since you were born, and perhaps were not aware whether you were seeing a D.O. (Osteopathic Physician) or an M.D. (Allopathic Physician). You may not even be aware that there are these two types of complete physicians in the United States.

The fact is, both D.O.s and M.D.s are complete physicians. They are both liscensed to perform surgery and prescribe medication in all 50 states. Is there any difference between these two kinds of doctors? Yes. And no.

  • Applicants to both D.O. and M.D. colleges typically have a four-year undergraduate degree with an emphasis on sicence courses.
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s complete four years of basic medical education.
  • After medical school, both D.O.s and M.D.s can choose to practice in a specialty area of medicine -- such as psychiatry, surgery, or obstetrics -- after completing a residency program (typically two to six years of additional training).
  • Both D.O.s and M.D.s must pass considerable state liscensing examinations.
  • D.O.s and M.D.s both practice in fully accredited and liscensed hospitals and medical centers.
D.O.s comprise a separate, yet equal branch of American medical care. Together, D.O.s and M.D.s enhance the state of care available in America. However, it's the ways that D.O.s and M.D.s are different that can bring an extra dimension to your family's healthcare.

Osteopathic medicine is a unique form of American medical care that was developed in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. Dr. Still was dissatisfied with the effectiveness of 19th Century medicine. He believed that many of the medications of his day were useless or even harmful. Dr. Still was one of the first in his time to study the attributes of good health so that he could better understand the process of disease.

Dr. Still founded a philosophy of medicine based on the ideas that date back to Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. The philosophy focuses on the unity of all body parts. He identified the musculoskeletal system as a key element of health. He recognized the body's ability to heal itself and stressed preventive medicine, eating properly and keeping fit.

Sports medicine is also a natural outgrowth of osteopathic practice, because of its focus on the musculoskeletal system, osteopathic manipulative treatment, diet, exercise and fitness. Many professional sports team physicians, Olympic physicians and personal sports medicine physicians are D.O.s.

© 2003 Aiken Pulmonary Associates, LLC.
Site designed & maintained by PowerServe International