Ask the Doctor: Breathe Easy This Season


Ganesha Santhyadka, MD, St. Joseph Pulmonary Medicine

Q: What inspired you to become a pulmonologist?
I decided to focus on pulmonology medicine, a specialty that focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions of the lungs and respiratory system, because I had a passion for it. I appreciated the balance of managing patients with a wide variety of health issues. For me, completing complex workups to determine a patient’s diagnosis and develop a care plan is fulfilling.

Q: When and why did you join St. Joseph Pulmonary Medicine?
I joined the practice in July 2006 after finishing a fellowship at Montefiore Medical Center of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and a residency at Pennsylvania Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. I’m originally from India and my work visa required that I work in an underserved market after completing my education, which initially brought my wife and me to Bangor. This a welcoming community filled with down-to-earth people which is why we’ve made it our home for so many years.

In addition, my mission as a doctor aligns very well with St. Joe’s Mission to care for all people in our community, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. To that end, over the last nearly 20 years, I’ve worked to significantly grow the practice to meet the community’s changing needs.

Q: What have been the season’s most common respiratory issues?
This winter has brought a unique trifecta of respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, influenza and COVID cases. Quite frankly, it’s been rampant as vaccines have only been effective in protecting patients against certain strains of these viruses. We have a considerable uptick in office visits.

Q: How are these illnesses diagnosed and treated?
There are simple tests to diagnosis infections and treatments like Tamiflu® for influenza and Paxlovid™ for COVID that can be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. Mild cases of RSV typically run their course in a couple of weeks.

Q: Do you have tips for keeping a respiratory system healthy?
Yes. People can stay as healthy as possible by:

  • Not smoking as it is the root cause of many health issues including cancer, COPD, asthma, pneumonia and more
  • Keeping up with vaccinations
  • Exercising regularly to keep lungs strong and better protected against infection as well as to maintain a healthy weight
  • Staying home if you are ill and wearing a mask in public if you must go out

The Bangor area offers so many opportunities to be active and enjoy the outdoors. I myself enjoy cycling in summer and fat biking in winter. I encourage my patients to get out there and enjoy it.

Q: What other types of issues do you most often treat?
Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD and pulmonary fibrosis are the most common conditions I treat in the office along with diagnosing staging lung cancers and managing patients with pulmonary hypertension.

In addition to pulmonary medicine, Dr. Santhyadka is also board-certified in internal medicine, critical care and sleep medicine. To learn more about him, please click here. To learn more about St. Joseph Pulmonary Medicine click here.

(207) 907-1000
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