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Coal worker's pneumoconiosis


Definition:

Coal worker's pneumoconiosis is a lung disease that results from breathing in dust from coal, graphite, or man-made carbon over a long period of time.

Alternative Names:

Black lung disease; Pneumoconiosis; Anthrosilicosis

Causes:

Coal worker's pneumoconiosis occurs in two forms: simple and complicated (also called progressive massive fibrosis, or PMF).

Your risk of getting coal worker's pneumoconiosis depends on how long you have been around coal dust. Most people with this disease are older than 50. Smoking does not increase your risk of developing this disease, but it may have an additional harmful effect on the lungs.

If coal worker's pneumoconiosis occurs with rheumatoid arthritis, it is called Caplan syndrome.

Symptoms:
Exams and Tests:

The doctor will do a physical exam and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. A chest x-ray or chest CT scan will be performed. You may also need lung function tests.

Treatment:

There is no specific treatment for this disorder. You should avoid further exposure to the dust.

Support Groups:

For additional resources, see lung disease support group.

Outlook (Prognosis):

The outcome for the simple form is usually good. It rarely causes disability or death. The complicated form may cause shortness of breath that gets progressively worse.

Possible Complications:

Complications may include:

When to Call a Medical Professional:

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you develop symptoms of coal worker's pneumoconiosis.

Prevention:

Wear a protective mask when working around coal, graphite, or man-made carbon. Companies should enforce the maximum permitted dust levels. Avoid smoking.

References:

Cowie RL, Murray J, Becklake MR. Pneumoconioses and other mineral dust-related diseases. In: Mason RJ, Broaddus VC, Martin TR, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2010:chap 65.

Samet JM. Occupational pulmonary disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 93.


Review Date: 5/30/2013
Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 2002 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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