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What is an occupational lung disease?

An occupational lung disease happens after long-term exposure to specific substances while a worker is performing his or her job duties. Unfortunately, occupational lung disease can have long-term effects. It can even lead to death, if the condition is severe.

Some workers are at a much greater risk of contracting employment-related lung diseases because of their specific occupations. One common job that is known to cause lung disease involves working in the coal mining industry. However, other jobs like auto mechanic, textile worker, construction worker and different kinds of factory worker jobs can result in serious lung problems. Any occupation where workers are exposed to dust, chemicals and fibers can lead to these kinds of conditions.

In the vast majority of cases, occupational lung disease is preventable, but once it is contracted it could become a chronic condition that is impossible to get rid of. Here are the various symptoms at-risk workers should look out for. If you have these kinds of symptoms, you may want to see a doctor to ask about occupational lung disease:

-- Shortness of breath

-- Chest tightness

-- Chest pain

-- Abnormal breathing issues

-- Coughing.

Because occupational lung disease could potentially resemble other lung conditions, it is important for those suffering from the above symptoms to talk to their doctor about their jobs and work environments. This could provide the additional information a doctor requires to diagnose occupational lung conditions like: asbestosis, pneumoconiosis, silicosis and other serious conditions. Once a diagnosis has been made, and/or if a work-related lung condition is suspected, sick East Orange, New Jersey, workers may want to reach out to a workers' compensation attorney to help them file a benefits claim.

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, "Occupational Lung Diseases," accessed July 19, 2016

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