Black Lung Disease Facts
Black lung disease is a chronic respiratory condition that results from the long-term inhalation of coal dust. When inhaled into the lungs, these tiny particles can accumulate, cause inflammation, produce tissue scarring and diminish lung function. Specifically, a buildup of mineral dust can significantly reduce the ability of the lungs to take in oxygen, release carbon dioxide and facilitate the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
Also known as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, black lung disease is not well understood, especially outside of the mining profession. Here are some basic facts about the condition:
- Even though black lung disease often produces the same symptoms as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – most notably, persistent coughing and shortness of breath – the two conditions are addressed differently.
- Because coal worker’s pneumoconiosis cannot be cured or reversed, the aim of treatment is to alleviate symptoms, slow the progression of lung tissue scarring and improve quality of life.
- Black lung disease can cause a healthy pink lung to become visibly blackened over time.
- Smoking does not cause coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, nor does it increase the risk of developing the condition or alter its progression.
- Due to the introduction of stringent coal dust control measures, black lung disease was all but eliminated by the 1970s. Recently, however, its prevalence has dramatically increased, possibly due to a relaxation of safety standards in the mining industry.
Many people who are diagnosed with black lung disease are able to manage their symptoms by avoiding further exposure to coal dust, taking medications and using supplemental oxygen. Additionally, the Lung Institute offers stem cell therapy, which involves the harvesting and reintroduction of a patient’s own stem cells, which can help reduce inflammation and promote the healing of lung tissue. Many people who undergo stem cell treatment for pneumoconiosis report not only an improvement in their quality of life, but also a reduced dependence on supplemental oxygen and medications.
If you’re living with black lung disease, you may be interested in learning about our innovative stem cell treatment options. Please contact us today at (800) 729-3065. We look forward to helping you breathe easier.