What is it?

Pneumoconiosis is the general term for a class of interstitial lung diseases where inhalation of dust has caused interstitial fibrosis. Pneumoconiosis often causes restrictive impairment, although diagnosable pneumoconiosis can occur without measurable impairment of lung function. Depending on extent and severity, it may cause death within months or years, or it may never produce symptoms. It is usually an occupational lung disease, typically from years of dust exposure during work in mining.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Pneumoconiosis due to silica
- Pneumoconiosis due to talc
- Silicosis
- Talcosis
- Acute berylliosis
- Aluminosis
- Antimony pneumoconiosis
- Baritosis
- Bauxite fibrosis
- Berylliosis
- Bituminosis
- Cadmium pneumonitis
- Carbon electrode makers' pneumoconiosis
- Chronic berylliosis
- Cobaltosis
- Erionite pneumoconiosis
- Fullers earth disease
- Graphite fibrosis
- Hard metal pneumoconiosis
- Liparitosis
- Manganese pneumonitis
- Mica pneumoconiosis
- Pulmonary siderosis
- Siderosis
- Stannosis
- Wollastonite pneumoconiosis
- Zirconium pneumoconiosis

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of Pneumoconiosis may include:
- A long-term cough
- Coughing up large amounts of mucus
- Feeling short of breath


Diagnosis of Pneumoconiosis includes:
- Personal history of work exposure
- Physical examination
- Chest X-ray or CT scan to look for lung nodules, masses and interstitial disease
- CT scan of the chest
- Pulmonary function studies, including blood gasses
- Lung Biopsy


Pneumoconiosis can’t be cured. Once the disease has been diagnosed, treatment is aimed at keeping it from getting worse and controlling symptoms. A treatment plan may include:
- Quit smoking
- Avoiding all dust exposure
- Using oxygen
- Taking medications called bronchodilators that open lung passages

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

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