Work-related lung disease

Occupation lung disease

Work-related lung conditions are caused or made worse by materials in your workplace

About

Repeated and long-term exposure to certain irritants in the workplace can lead to an array of lung diseases that may have lasting effects, even after exposure to those irritants cease. Certain jobs, because of the nature of their location, work, and environment, are more at risk for occupational lung diseases than others.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of occupational lung disease icon plus

    Symptoms will depend on each individual but may include:

    • coughing
    • shortness of breath
    • chest pain
    • chest tightness
    • abnormal breathing patterns

    The symptoms of occupational (work-related) lung diseases may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Your consultant will be able to advise you.

  • Diagnosis icon plus

    You'll be given an initial chest X-ray or CT scan for a clinical diagnosis. Additional tests may be performed to determine the type and severity of the lung disease, including:

    • pulmonary function tests
    • microscopic examination from biopsy or autopsy of tissue, cells, and fluids from the lungs
    • biochemical and cellular studies of lung fluids
    • measurement of respiratory or gas exchange functions
    • examination of airway or bronchial activity
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Treatment will be determined by the type and severity of lung disease you are diagnosed with. The best prevention for occupational (work-related) lung diseases is avoiding inhaling substances that cause lung diseases. Recommendations include:

    • not smoking
    • wearing proper protective equipment
    • regular evaluation of lung function
    • educating workers of the risks of lung disease
    • regular workplace health and safety checks

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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