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What is pneumoconiosis?

| May 26, 2019 | Workplace Illness

Pneumoconiosis derives from the Greek words for “lung” and “dust.” It translates to the condition of having dust in the lungs. Any job in Wisconsin that puts you in a situation in which you may inhale certain particles in large quantities can lead to pneumoconiosis.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the type of dust you inhale contributes to the variety of pneumoconiosis that you may develop. Black lung disease is a well-known form that affects workers in coal mines. Popcorn lung is a less commonly known form that afflicts people who work in movie theaters and breathe in the compound used to create buttery flavor. Other types of pneumoconiosis can result from breathing in particles of asbestos, silica, cotton or other fibers. 

Symptoms of pneumoconiosis include shortness of breath, cough and excessive phlegm production. These symptoms result from scar tissue that forms in the lungs due to inflammation from the inhaled particles. It can take many years for the damage to occur, and the severity can vary as well. Though people who smoke may be more likely to develop the disease, most of the risks of pneumoconiosis relate to your occupation.

Treatment for pneumoconiosis involves controlling your symptoms and preventing the disease from getting worse. Modalities include opening up lung passages for better breathing with the use of medications called bronchodilators. Oxygen therapy may also be helpful. However, there is no cure for pneumoconiosis and no way to reverse the damage to your lungs once it has occurred.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.