Pneumoconiosis is a serious lung disease cause by the inhalation of dust particles from coal, asbestos, and talc to name but a few. Pneumoconiosis usually occurs when people have been exposed to contaminated air for a prolonged period of time.
The dust irritates the lungs and causes inflammation, over time this inflammation can cause serious damage usually in the form of fibrosis. This is a condition where the lungs start to stiffen, making it very difficult for a person to breath easily.
Initially, pneumoconiosis doesn’t always cause obvious symptoms. However, when symptoms do develop, they include coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. It can take up to ten years of exposure to dust particles before symptoms become clearly noticeable.
If a person has experienced prolonged exposure to industrial dust particles then they should seek advice from their doctor. Oxygen treatment, antibiotics and immunisations can be used to treat a patient who is suspected of suffering from pneumoconiosis. If a person is suffering from severe breathing difficulties then they may have to undergo surgery to have a lung transplant.
If pneumoconiosis is left untreated it can lead to lung cancer.
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