Primary care doctor helps you in most lung conditions, but in certain cases, you will need a lung specialist called a pulmonologist- a physician specializing in the diagnosis and management of lung diseases and disorders according to Dr. Luke J. Benvenuto, a pulmonologist. They are specialized in managing and treating a broad spectrum of lung conditions.
Benvenuto recommends patients to ask their primary care doctor for a referral. It's best to rely on a primary care doctor to decide when you should see a pulmonologist. Also, you should rely on the primary care doctor to recommend a pulmonologist because taking care of patients is a team effort. But, you should also do a little research on your own and find out the doctor’s credentials and the area of subspecialty that is useful for the situation.
But, if you need a pulmonologist for a rare or complicated disease Benvenuto recommends to reach out to “patient advocacy groups” such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
In complicated cases like IPF, cystic fibrosis or pulmonary hypertension its best to visit a specialty center. By visiting a major hospital, you may get an access to doctors with more specific experience in your disease.