Occupational lung diseases are the result of the inhalation of dust or fumes in the work place. This may cause a specific lung disease or an allergic or hyper-sensitivity reaction in the lungs and respiratory tract of the exposed worker. There are a number of occupational lung diseases. The causes vary greatly. Occupational lung diseases are relatively rare compared with the incidence of asbestos related disease, in part because of more stringent occupational health and safety standards that have been implemented over the past few decades.
It is important to state the obvious at the beginning. Occupational lung diseases are preventable. This is achieved by either preventing agents being released into the workers’ environment or preventing agents released into the workers’ environment gaining access to the workers’ lungs. The former method is the area that effort should be concentrated on.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Occupational Lung Diseases
Occupational lung diseases are usually diagnosed by a general medical practitioner or respiratory physician on the basis of a medical examination and a simple chest x-ray or CT scan of the chest. Treatment of these diseases varies greatly. There is no outright cure for any of these diseases and treatment is focused on the alleviation of symptoms. Where the occupational lung disease is occupational asthma or some similar disease then medications may be prescribed to ease the symptoms. Where the symptoms are mild to moderate, such treatment may help alleviate symptoms to an extent.
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