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SILICOSIS – CLINICAL MANIFESTATION AND RELATION WITH OTHER PULMONARY AND NON-PULMONARY DISEASES

Elena Stoyanova, Elena Stoyanova, Ersin Ismail, Alexandra Stefanova, Svetoslav Dobrev, Dimcho Tomov

Abstract

Introduction: Silicosis is one of the most common occupational diseases worldwide. The risk groups include mostly workers from mines, foundries, sandblasting and glass manufacturing – people exposed to crystalline silica dust. Clinically, silicosis can present in three different forms – acute, chronic and accelerated, according to the dose and period of exposure. All of them lead to fibrosis aggravating to decreased lung capacity and respiratory failure. There is a risk of developing silicosis in a broad variety of industrial activities, which is related to morbidity with pulmonary and non-pulmonary diseases.

Results: It is difficult to prove a casual connection for a co-existence of two or more diseases. However, the susceptibility of silicosis patients for developing certain illnesses such as tuberculosis is indisputable (2.8 to 39 times higher risk). On the other hand, the relation between silica dust exposure and other pulmonary and mostly non-pulmonary diseases is moderate, mild or statistically insignificant. Also, the form of silicosis and its progression provide the conditions necessary for their development.

Materials and Methods: Three full-text articles on the exploration of silicosis were briefly analyzed. They include longitudinal studies during the period 1968-1995, conducted at major mines in China, the US, Mongolia and Brazil. Excerpts from their results were systematized in building the image of silicosis as an independent disease and pathogenic level of other diseases. Also, representative radiological and histological samples were used to demonstrate the findings and signs of deterioration of the condition.

Conclusions: Based on the fact that silicosis is an incurable disease, prevention is the only way of dfeating it. Mortality has been reduced by 97% for the last 60 years. Keeping silica dust away from the workers lungs ensures lower pulmonary and related non-pulmonary morbidity and also longer life-expectancy.


Keywords

silicosis, silica dust, co-existent diseases, morbidity, prevention


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