Re: What does a pulmonologist do that regular MD does not?
Basically a pulmonologist can tell the difference between asthma, emphysema, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, etc. My mother (died 23 years ago) was first diagnosed with asthma by her MD. After a few months on the same medications I take for asthma, she had no relief and I made her go to a pulmonologist. He found the pulmonary fibrosis (terminal) but at least we knew what we were dealing with.
If you are using a rescue inhaler that often, you are in serious trouble. I have had asthma for over 23 years. I have done clinical trials for exercise induced asthma, environmental asthma, allergy related asthma and various drug studies. You name it: I've probably been on it. I was getting so bad in Ohio that I was hospitalized 5-6 times a year for ten days at a time. Right before I left that state, I had to take a 3 month leave because my lungs just wouldn't recover. I now live in Nevada and I have been hospitalized only once in ten years and that was two weeks after I got here.
Advair works for me combined with Singulaire for allergies and Flonase to keep polyps out of my sinuses. I very seldom need albuterol but have it as an inhaler and with nebulizer just in case. At least once a year I catch a "cold" or some other upper respiratory bug and my asthma kicks in. Sometimes I have to go back on prednisone for a few weeks but overall I feel I am in control of my asthma--it does not control me.
Get to a pulmonologist now! Get started on medications that will help you control your asthma and live your life. Also take a hard look at your triggers: plants, foods, stress, exercise, weather. You might have to make some adjustments to your lifestyle--moving to a dry climate changed my life. Good luck.
This too shall pass (like a kidney stone, but it will pass!).