Black Lung

Topics: Pulmonology, Pneumonia, Asthma Pages: 1 (330 words) Published: March 18, 2013
Black Lung disease is a chronic occupational lung disease contracted by the prolonged breathing of coal mine dust. It is common for coal miners and others who work with coal, similar to the long-term effects of tobacco smoking. Inhaled coal dust progressively builds up in the lungs and is unable to be removed by the body, which leads to inflamed lungs and in the worst case, necrosis. Symptoms of black lung disease are not common to have but if they are relevant then they could be, shortness of breath, obstruction of airways, severe coughing, some people can develop a disease in which the tiny air sacs in the lungs become damaged, leading to shortness of breath, and respiratory and heart failure.

Diagnosis is chest radiography, a series of pulmonary function tests, an exposure history to coal dust, and exclusion of alternate diagnosis. There is no cure for the black lung disease, but there are ways that you can prevent it or lesson the severity of it such as: avoiding tobacco smoke, taking medications for wheezing and severe coughing, taking antibiotics to prevent infections, oxygen therapy, and adequate face masks or breathing filters. Black lung disease was first reported back in 1822 under the name "miner's asthma." Medical professionals thought the symptoms from black lung disease were asthma-related. In 1831, the term "black lung" was coined when medical professionals discovered the blackening of miners' lungs. Over a century later, coal workers' pneumoconiosis was created in 1942 by British medical professionals trying to specify the dust disease plaguing coal miners

There are currently about 130,000 underground coal miners actively working in the United States. The mining and production of coal is a major part of the economy in several developed countries. In the past ten years, over 10,000 American miners have died from this black lung disease. Today it is estimated that 1,500 former coal miners still die of black lung each year in the US.
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