Below are the dusts which cause these diseases.
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Asbestos fibers are very durable and resistant to heat, leading to their use in insulation and fireproofing, as well as in textile manufacturing. Examples of workers who might be exposed to asbestos include plumbers, roofers, mechanics and shipyard workers, including naval officers. People are at higher risk of developing asbestosis if they have higher levels of exposure to asbestos dust over longer periods of time. The disease typically does not develop for 10 or 20 years after first exposure.
Crystalline silica is a main component of dust from sand and rock. Examples of workers who might be exposed to silica include miners, sandblasters, stonemasons and foundry workers. Risk factors for developing silicosis include higher levels of silica exposure and longer time of exposure. Lower levels of exposure over many years most commonly lead to "chronic simple silicosis" in which many small nodules of inflammation form in the lungs. This is the most common form of silicosis. In a small percentage of cases, simple silicosis develops in to a more severe form of silicosis called "progressive massive fibrosis" PMF when many small nodules "grow" together into large masses.
In PMF, patients have more severe respiratory symptoms because the masses limit the function of normal lung. If exposure to silica is very intense over a shorter period of time, patients may develop "accelerated" or "acute silicosis. Coal dust is made of carbon-containing particles, and coal miners are at risk of inhaling this dust.
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Coal miners may also be exposed to silica-containing dust because coal mining may involve some drilling into silica-containing rock. Workers exposed to graphite dust can also develop pneumoconiosis similar to CWP. Just like with silicosis, CWP is most commonly "simple" disease with nodules of inflammation forming in the lungs, but it can become PMF in a small percentage of patients. Chronic beryllium disease also called berylliosis is another work-related lung disease that may be considered pneumoconiosis.
Beryllium is a very strong and lightweight metal that is used in the electronics, aerospace and nuclear power industries. Chronic beryllium disease is caused by inhalation of airborne beryllium during its processing such as in melting or grinding it.
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There are other less common mineral dusts that might also cause pneumoconiosis including cobalt, talc and aluminum oxide. If you have been exposed to asbestos, silica, coal dust or other toxic dusts and have respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, you should consult your healthcare provider. Select your location to view local American Lung Association information near you Enter your zipcode. Pneumoconiosis Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors The most common symptoms of pneumoconiosis are cough and shortness of breath. What Are the Symptoms of Pneumoconiosis Patients with pneumoconiosis may have no symptoms at all, particularly early in the disease.
What Causes Pneumoconiosis? What Are Risk Factors? When to See Your Doctor If you have been exposed to asbestos, silica, coal dust or other toxic dusts and have respiratory symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath, you should consult your healthcare provider. It causes the small air sacs in the lung, or alveoli, to become inflamed and fill with fluid. This makes it harder for the lungs to transfer oxygen to the bloodstream. People with pneumonia should see a doctor for treatment.
The condition can become severe in older people and may require hospitalization. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it harder to breathe. In some people, certain triggers can bring on bouts of asthma, such as exposure to irritants in the environment. It can cause frequent coughing, especially at night.
It is important to see a doctor about asthma. They can help a person find the right treatment and identify any triggers of the condition. Allergies occur as a result of the immune system overreacting to a harmless substance, such as pollen or dust. Coming into contact with these substances can cause a range of symptoms, including:. In the most severe cases, allergies can cause anaphylaxis , which is the rapid and simultaneous onset of several symptoms.
Anaphylaxis can quickly become severe and requires immediate medical attention. In most cases, allergies do not have a cure.
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The most effective way to deal with an allergy is to avoid triggers. Gastroesophageal reflux disease GERD is a chronic condition wherein stomach acid reaches the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach. The most common symptom is heartburn , or a burning sensation in the throat that can get worse when lying down.
Other symptoms of GERD include:. There is no cure for GERD, but a doctor can make lifestyle recommendations that may help control symptoms. There are also medications available that can reduce discomfort. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD is a type of lung disease that affects breathing. Smoking tobacco is the main cause of COPD.
People with COPD can develop other conditions that worsen their symptoms, such as obstructive bronchiolitis or emphysema. Breathing difficulties, including shortness of breath and difficulty exhaling, are the main symptoms of COPD. It is vital to see a doctor about COPD. Treatment will primarily involve giving up smoking and avoiding exposure to smoke or other irritants.
The outlook for a cough that will not go away depends on its cause. A cold can go away with no treatment within 7—10 days. However, other causes are lifelong conditions that may require ongoing management, such as GERD. It is best to see a doctor if the cough persists for longer than 3 weeks or occurs with other, more serious symptoms, such as coughing up blood.
Article last reviewed by Thu 23 May Visit our Ear, Nose and Throat category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Ear, Nose and Throat. All references are available in the References tab. Allergic reactions.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD. Common colds: Protect yourself and others. Learn about pneumonia. MLA Kandola, Aaron. MediLexicon, Intl.
APA Kandola, A. MNT is the registered trade mark of Healthline Media. Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
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