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Pneumoconiosis is a general term given to any lung disease caused by dusts that are breathed in and then deposited deep in the lungs causing damage. Pneumoconiosis is usually considered an occupational lung disease, and includes asbestosis, silicosis and coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP), also known as "Black Lung Disease."

Learn About Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis can develop when airborne dusts, particularly mineral dusts, are inhaled at work. The dust particles remain in the lung where they can cause inflammation or fibrosis (scarring).

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Pneumoconiosis Symptoms, Causes and Risk Factors

The most common symptoms of pneumoconiosis are cough and shortness of breath, and the risk is generally higher when people have been exposed to mineral dusts such as asbestos, silica and coal dust in high concentrations or for long periods of time.

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Diagnosing and Treating Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis may be diagnosed by routine workplace surveillance in exposed workers, or it may be diagnosed because symptoms develop in a person previously exposed to mineral dusts. Most treatments for patients with pneumoconiosis are aimed at limiting further damage to the lung, decreasing symptoms and improving quality of life.

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Living with Pneumoconiosis

Because there is no cure, living with pneumoconiosis involves taking the best care of your lungs and your general health as you can and following up regularly with your healthcare provider to manage your symptoms, to monitor you for worsening of your lung function and to watch for other diseases that can develop in patients who have pneumoconiosis.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Pneumoconiosis

Making notes before your visit, as well as taking along a trusted family member or friend, can help you through the first appointment with your doctor. Here are some questions to ask about pneumoconiosis.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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