Occupational Lung Disease

Occupational lung disease is the most frequent work-related illness in the U.S. in terms of frequency, severity, and preventability. 

Research has shown that repeated and long-term exposure to certain irritants on the job can lead to an array of lung diseases that may have lasting effects, even after exposure stops. 

Contrary to a popular misconception, coal miners are not the only ones at risk for occupational lung diseases. Working in a car garage or textile factory can also expose a person to hazardous chemicals, dusts, and fibers that may lead to a lifetime of lung problems if not properly diagnosed and treated.

UT Southwestern Medical Center has the expertise and state-of-the-art medical resources to accurately diagnose and treat occupational lung disease. Our lung specialists are experts in evaluating how toxins and irritants, such as asbestos and dust from construction work and other occupations, can affect the health of lungs.

Asbestosis, byssinosis (brown lung disease), hypersensitivity pneumonitis, mesothelioma, occupational asthma, occupational lung cancer, and silicosis are some of the specific types of occupational lung disease treated at UT Southwestern.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of occupational lung disease are:

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

Tests and Exams

Our lung specialists use pulmonary function tests, as well as examinations of the cells, tissues, and fluids produced by the lungs to diagnose and treat occupational lung disease. By carefully examining your medical history and the extent and type of the lung condition, our pulmonologists will thoroughly review how specific medications, procedures, and therapies can help treat your specific condition.

Our pulmonologists will also review how you can prevent the progression of occupational lung disease through actions such as using protective equipment or smoking cessation.

Treatment

UT Southwestern’s lung specialists are experts in using a wide array of treatments to reduce inflammation and other symptoms related to occupational lung disease. We offer comprehensive treatments for occupational lung disease and the advanced, personalized care needed to improve your health.