Pneumoconiosis: What is It?

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Pneumoconiosis is a group of diseases of respiratory system caused due to inhalation of respirable particle. The dust particle size, if it is between 0.5 micron to 3 micron, is a health hazard and can produce lung disease called pneumoconiosis, after a variable period of exposure to the dust particles. Pneumoconiosis gradually cripple working capacity of worker by producing lung fibrosis (formation of fibrous tissue in lung with lesser capacity to expand) and other complications. Many factors are responsible for the health hazards of the dust particles like fineness, chemical composition of the dust particle, period of exposure to the dust particle, concentration of dust in the air and health and nutrition status of the worker or exposed person. That’s why there are different threshold values for different dust particles. Superimposed lung infections like tuberculosis and other chronic lung diseases can multiply the toxic effects of dust particles. This is particularly true in the developing countries where lung infections like tuberculosis is common health problem.

Silicosis, anthracosis, byssinosis, bagasosis, asbestosis and farmer’s lung are some common and important examples of pneumoconiosis.

Treatment of Pneumoconiosis is not helpful and not successful. Once developed it can not be cured nor the progression stopped. So it is very much essential to prevent the disease from arising at the place of work, may it be in factories, mines, agricultural field or in any business establishments.

In case of Pneumoconiosis preventive medicine is the main not curative form. “Prevention is better than cure” is more truer in case of Pneumoconiosis than any other disease.

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