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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What is occupational lung disease?
Occupational lung disease occurs when you breathe in substances in your workplace that damage your lungs. This causes scarring of the lung tissue, which is irreversible, and can eventually lead to difficulty breathing and, potentially, death.
What are the symptoms of occupational lung disease?
Symptoms of occupational lung disease are coughing, short breath, chest pain and tightness and difficulty breathing.
What causes occupational lung disease?
Occupational lung disease is caused by breathing in substances that damage your lungs, such as asbestos or coal dust, among others.
Who gets occupational lung disease?
Common industries in which lung disease occurs include mining, farming, plastic or textile work, ceramics, automotive, welding, painting and metal production.
How is occupational lung disease diagnosed?
A chest X-ray can be performed to detect damage to the lungs. Other tests that are performed include a CT scan of the lungs, lab tests on lung fluid and tissue, and a lung function test.
How is occupational lung disease treated?
There is no treatment for specific occupational lung diseases. The best thing to do is to avoid the substance that is causing, or has the potential to cause, a problem. If the lung disease progresses, you may be treated with oxygen therapy.
Can occupational lung disease be prevented?
The only way to prevent occupational lung disease is to avoid the occupations it is common in. Fortunately, with safety regulations in many places, many occupational lung diseases are becoming increasingly uncommon.
Are there different types of occupational lung disease?
There are many types of occupational lung disease. They are categorized by the different inhaled substances that lead to the lung damage.
About this article
Author: Dr Idan Ben-Barak PhD, MSc, BSc (Med)
First answered: 11 Jul 2015
Last reviewed: 19 May 2018
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 500 (Click smiley face below left to rate)
Category: Occupational lung disease