An Overview of Occupational Lung Diseases

file5631263155298October is National Healthy Lung Month. From asthma to lung cancer, millions of Americans are affected by lung health problems each year. While smoking can lead to many types of lung problems, there are also environmental and occupational factors to be considered. In this post, we’ll look at occupational lung diseases and what you can do about them.

Repeated long-term exposure to certain irritants in the workplace can lead to many lung diseases that could have chronic implications. Some types of jobs are more at risk for occupational lung diseases than others, based on location, type of work done, and working environment. Exposure to hazardous chemicals, dusts, and fibers can lead to lifetime lung problem without proper diagnosis and treatment.

Smoking can increase the severity of an occupational lung disease as well as the risk of lung cancer. Common occupational lung disease symptoms include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Abnormal breathing pattern
  • Chest tightness

If you or a loved one has any of these symptoms, consult with a health care professional.

How are Occupational Lung Diseases Diagnosed?

Patients typically need to have a chest x-ray or CT scan for a clinical diagnosis. Various other tests may be needed, such as pulmonary function tests, tissue biopsy, measurement of respiratory functions, and airway examination.

Examples of Occupational Lung Diseases

  • Asbestosis
  • Occupational asthma
  • Coal worker’s pneumoconiosis
  • Silicosis
  • Byssinosis
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis


Always wear protective gear, such as facial masks, when exposed to airborne dusts and other irritants. Avoid smoking, which can increase your risk of developing occupational lung diseases. Talk to your company about improving education about the risks of lung disease. This may involve hiring an occupational health expert to investigate your work environment for risk factors.

If you or someone you care about has suffered from a workplace injury, get advice from a trusted source. Attorney John Schuerman has over forty years of experience with workplace injury claims. He’ll fight aggressively for full compensation for you and your family. Evening and weekend appointments are available in addition to home and hospital visits. Schedule your free consultation today by calling 1-800-274-0045.