Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Black Lung Disease Overview

Another name for Black Lung Disease is Coal Worker's Pneumoconiosis.

What is coal worker's pneumoconiosis?
A person with coal worker's pneumoconiosis has inflammation of the air passageways in the lungs, caused by exposure to coal dust. Coal worker's pneumoconiosis occurs only after the long-term exposure to coal dust. Coal dust is not highly toxic, but can gradually damage the lungs over time. Pneumoconiosis occurs in about 50% of anthracite miners who have been working for more than 20 years.

What are the symptoms of coal worker's pneumoconiosis?
Common symptoms of coal worker's pneumoconiosis include slowly increasing shortness of breath, chronic cough, wheezing, and chest pain that worsens with coughing or deep breathing.

How does the doctor treat coal worker's pneumoconiosis?
The treatment for coal worker's pneumoconiosis includes bronchodilator medications, inhaled corticosteroids, chest physical therapy, and oral corticosteroids. Some may benefit from home oxygen therapy.

Continue to Black Lung Disease Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Black Lung Disease References
  1. De Vuyst P, Camus P. The past and present of pneumoconioses. Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2000 Mar;6(2):151-6. [10741776]
  2. Petsonk EL, Daniloff EM, Mannino DM, Wang ML, Short SR, Wagner GR. Airway responsiveness and job selection: a study in coal miners and non-mining controls. Occup Environ Med. 1995 Nov;52(11):745-9. [8535494]
  3. Scott DF, Grayson RL, Metz EA. Disease and illness in U.S. mining, 1983-2001. J Occup Environ Med. 2004 Dec;46(12):1272-7.[15591979]
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