A pulmonologist or cardiologist are doctors who may see only a handful of PH patients in their practice in their career. Some have no idea how to treat PH. Some might think it's not that big of a deal and not offer treatment at all, just monitoring. When a newly diagnosed PH patient comes onto the message boards or into the chat room, the #1 recommendation given to them is FIND A PH SPECIALIST!! What's the difference? A PH specialist IS a pulmonologist or a cardiologist who either sees PH patients exclusively, or the majority of their patients are PHers. It is very important to see a PH specialist since they understand better what to do to help a PHer manage their symptoms.
My own personal experience involves my pediatric cardiologist. Since my PH is due to congenital heart disease, I followed a pediatric cardio for most of my life, up to my early 20s. Dr. G. was wonderful, and I really loved him! But when my symptoms started worsening in my early 20s, he gave me inhalers to try. I look back at this today and realize that he really may not have fully been aware of the symptoms of PH. I didn't even know anything about PH at that time, only that I had it. I didn't have any clues as to what it really meant when the inhalers didn't work, my symptoms continued to worsen, and I was referred by my general practitioner to the Cleveland Clinic for a lung transplant evaluation. I went several times before I was put on my first PH med, and received a flyer in the shipment of that med for the PH Association. That's when I began building my knowledge of everything pulmonary hypertension, and why I now insist that a person see a PH specialist so they get on the right path to treatment!!