Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis  Photo

The most common symptoms of pneumoconiosis are shortness of breath and cough. The risk is generally observed higher when people have been exposed to mineral dusts in high concentrations and/or for long periods of time. Inadequate or inconsistent use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as respirators (specially fitted protective masks) is another risk factor since preventing dusts from being inhaled will also prevent pneumoconiosis. Pneumoconiosis does not generally occur from environmental (non-workplace) exposures since dust levels in the environment are much lower. Patients having pneumoconiosis may have no symptoms at all, particularly early in the disease. Later on symptoms include cough, with or without mucous (sputum) production, or chest tightness. Many patients complain of shortness of breath. Patients may first notice getting more breathless or winded with activity, like walking or climbing stairs. Some patients may feel breathless even when they are at rest. . If pneumoconiosis involves a large part of the lungs or causes a lot of scarring, oxygen may be prevented from easily reaching the blood during breathing. This results in hypoxia that is low oxygen levels. Hypoxia may only be present during activity or while sleeping. Hypoxia may be present all the time if pneumoconiosis is severe or progresses. Many patients with hypoxia do not know that their oxygen levels are low because hypoxia itself does not always cause symptoms like breathlessness.This results in Hypoxia that is low oxygen levels reaching to the tissue. Hypoxia may only be present during activity or while sleeping. Hypoxia may be present all the time if pneumoconiosis is severe or progresses. Many patients with Hypoxia do not know that their oxygen levels are low because Hypoxia itself does not always cause symptoms like breathlessness. Oxygen in the blood delivers oxygen to all the internal organs, so recognizing hypoxia is important to prevent stress on other organs, like the heart and brain. Pneumoconiosis also includes asbestosis, silicosis and coal worker's pneumoconiosis. Coal worker's pneumoniosis is sometimes called as "Black Lung Disease" because charcoal dust in the lungs can turn them black in color. 


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