Black lung disease is the common name given to the disease known as pneumoconiosis. Pneumoconiosis is a degenerative lung disease that causes scar tissue to develop in your lungs. This scar tissue makes it difficult to breathe and, when left untreated, it may also lead to other severe lung diseases.
Pneumoconiosis is called black lung disease because of its association with dust inhaled by coal miners. However, pneumoconiosis can affect more than coal miners. Anyone who works in poorly ventilated environments with lots of foreign agents, such as dust or asbestos, in the air are at risk for black lung disease.
If you find yourself experiencing the symptoms of black lung disease, you should seek immediate medical assistance. Lung health professionals, like our team at the Lung Health Institute, specialize in developing treatments to help you manage a life with pneumoconiosis.
How do you tell if you have black lung disease?
Pneumoconiosis usually develops slowly over time, so the symptoms may take a while to appear. If you frequently spend time in dusty environments, you should visit a medical professional for regular examinations to catch black lung disease before its symptoms become severe.
Symptoms of black lung disease include:
- Frequent coughing that produces phlegm
- Chest pain
Is black lung disease treatable?
The best treatment for black lung disease is prevention. If you work in an environment with a lot of dust, smoke, chemicals or asbestos, you need to follow proper safety measures to protect your breathing. Wear safety masks and always wash your skin and clothes after coming in contact with these foreign agents.
Also, if you smoke, you need to quit. Smoking is a leading cause of many lung diseases, including black lung disease.
As with many chronic lung conditions, there is no cure for black lung disease. However, medical assistance may provide treatment for managing the symptoms and inflammation caused by black lung disease.
If you would like assistance with managing symptoms of black lung disease or another lung condition, contact our patient coordinators at the Lung Health Institute. Services like our anti-inflammatory initiative can help reduce the inflammation caused by black lung disease.