Health Encyclopedia

Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis

Pneumoconiosis is the accumulation of dust in the lungs. It causes shortness of breath and coughing.

Specific types of pneumoconiosis include:

  • Silicosis, the accumulation of silicon dioxide dust.
  • Black lung disease, or coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWF), the accumulation of coal dust.
  • Asbestosis, the accumulation of asbestos fibers in the lungs.

There is no treatment for many types of pneumoconiosis. This condition can increase the risk for developing emphysema, tuberculosis, and chronic bronchitis (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD). If pneumoconiosis progresses to one of these diseases, it may seriously impair quality of life. Some types of pneumoconiosis increase a person's risk for cancer.

Last Revised: November 29, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology

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