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Acute Silicosis

Definition

Silicosis is a lung disease. It is caused by breathing dust that contains crystalline silica. In acute silicosis, the disease occurs after just weeks or months of exposure to very high levels of the silica. This is a serious condition. Contact your doctor immediately if you think you may have it.

Causes

Crystalline silica can be found in:
When these materials are cut, broken, crushed, drilled, ground, or blasted, silica dust may be produced. When silica dust gets into the air you breathe, it may become trapped in your lungs. The dust builds up damages your lungs. More dust will create more damage. This will make it hard for you to breathe.
Pathway to Lungs
Respiratory Pathway
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Risk Factors

Working in the following occupations increases your chance of acute silicosis:

Symptoms

Symptoms may appear within a few weeks to two years after exposure:

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. You will also be asked about your work history. A physical exam will be done. Tests may include the following:
Peak Flow Meter—Pulmonary Function Test
Lung test
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Treatment

There is no specific treatment for silicosis. If you have acute silicosis, you will be advised to avoid additional exposure. Your doctor may also treat other conditions associated with acute silicosis. These may include heart disease and TB. You will also be advised to stop smoking.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of silicosis:

RESOURCES

Nationals Institute for Occupational Safety and Health http://www.cdc.gov

Occupational Safety & Health Administration https://www.osha.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety http://www.ccohs.ca

The Lung Association http://www.lung.ca

References

Silicosis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pulmonary-disorders/environmental-pulmonary-diseases/silicosis. Updated May 2014. Accessed June 30, 2015.

Silicosis: Learn the facts! National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2004-108. Updated June 6, 2014. Accessed June 30, 2015.

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