Pneumoconiosis is a lung condition that is caused by inhaling particles of mineral dust, usually while working in a high-risk, mineral-related industry. Inhaling mineral dust irritates lungs and trigger lung inflammation.
Over time, these areas can progress to form tough, fibrous tissue deposits. This stage of pneumoconiosis is called fibrosis. Fibrosis stiffens the lungs and interferes with the lung's normal exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Pneumoconiosis rarely causes symptoms. When symptoms develop, they can include cough (with or without mucus), wheezing and shortness of breath (especially during exercise). If pneumoconiosis causes severe lung fibrosis, breathing can become extremely difficult.
If you have pneumoconiosis and you develop breathing problems, your doctor will advise you to avoid further exposure to the mineral dust. Your health care provider may prescribe medicines that are inhaled to decrease inflammation in your airways. In some cases, you may need to breathe additional oxygen at home.
Moreover, doctor will recommend immunization with the influenza (flu) and pneumococcal vaccines to help protect your damaged lungs against respiratory infections. If a respiratory infection develops, one may need to be treated with antibiotics. When there is extreme breathing problem, a lung transplant is the only cure.
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