Black lung disease is another name for coal workers’ pneumoconiosis. It is a disease that mainly affects the respiratory system and can have a variety of symptoms that may be overlooked because of the slow development of the disease over a period of years.
Knowing more about it, what symptoms to look for, how it can affect you, and what kind of treatment you can get for it can help you understand how severe and common it is, especially for those working in mining.
1. Cause of Black Lung Disease
Quite simply, black lung disease is caused by the inhalation of copious amounts of coal dust. In rare cases, this can be the result of a freak accident, but unfortunately, people inhale a very high amount of coal dust, most likely because of the nature of their job. After all, there is a reason why another name for Black Lung Disease is “Coal Workers’” pneumoconiosis.
Businessmen who have mines hire workers to mine coal without giving much thought to how damaging it can be to expose one’s lungs to coal dust for long periods of time. This work-related ailment not only keeps a person from being healthy but also prevents them from ever being able to earn an income again. This is because of the difficult symptoms that a person with black lung disease has to deal with.
2. Early Stage Symptoms
While nowadays, people are more aware of the risks they are taking when working as coal miners, many still overlook early symptoms and do not realize that they are dealing with black lung disease until it is too late. Knowing what symptoms to look out for can help you seek medical help before it is too late. Some symptoms you can look out for are coughing, and shortness of breath. If you start having these symptoms, then you should get a checkup and not take it lightly.
3. Developed Symptoms
Symptoms of Black Lung Disease later develop into more apparent symptoms that make it easier to identify. These symptoms can consist of an inability to breathe when lying down, chronic coughing, and coughing up black mucus.
Of course, discomfort and pain accompany these symptoms due to not being able to breathe properly and because you might injure your throat due to the constant coughing.
4. Extent of Damage Black Lung Disease Can Cause
Unfortunately, the extent of damage to Black Lung disease does not just include these symptoms. It is much more extreme. This vicious illness can be a prelude to several deadly respiratory diseases.
Black Lung Disease is a gateway to other ailments such as chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, respiratory failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. So not only do you have to deal with the horrible symptoms that one gets because of this work-related disease, but you will also deal with future complications that may cause a painful death. This is one of the reasons why many people who get it due to the nature of their work ask for compensation to cover for the expensive treatments they might need due to the other illnesses they have become susceptible to because of it.
5. The Treatments Available
Black Lung Disease has no cure. The only thing that a person can do is get treated for the range of symptoms they go through. Many hospitals offer various treatments for those with black lung disease and help their patients take preventative measures to ensure that they do not contract something worse and to ensure that the symptoms do not progress to a point of no return.
6. Ways to Determine If You Have Black Lung Disease
You can easily determine if you have Black Lung Disease or not by checking whether the symptoms you have match those of the disease. If your job exposes you to constant levels of coal dust, then you might want to get regular checkups to ensure that your lungs are in a healthy condition. If your doctor suspects that you have black lung disease, he will ask you to get a chest x-ray or CT scan, not to mention that he will ask you questions about your exposure to coal dust.
Now that you know everything there is about Black Lung disease, you can take the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not get it. If you already have some of the symptoms, then you can take steps to get them treated and stop the ailment from developing. You can also start looking into ways to get compensated so that you can cover medical expenses due to the treatments that you will be required to receive.
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