Black lung — coal worker’s pneumoconiosis — is a type of interstitial lung disease that is caused by prolonged exposure to coal dust. This dust contains heavy metals that are toxic in even low concentrations.
Black lung is common in many miners and others whose jobs put them in contact with coal dust. Over time, the metal particles collect in the lungs’ air sacs, causing inflammation and infection and leading to shortness of breath, coughing and fatigue. There are two types of black lung, also known as coal worker’s pneumoconiosis: simple and complicated. There is evidence that black lung can develop even after exposure is ended.
Black Lung Symptoms Are Treatable
Black lung is treatable but is not curable. It is a progressive disease that gets worse over time. Sometimes, black lung can even lead to other progressive lung diseases, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Any treatment options will typically only focus on the symptoms of black lung and focus on improving quality of life rather than prolonging it. Much of the effort is spent on trying to reduce exposure and provide better work conditions to prevent the disease in the first place.
Treatment options for black lung may include medications like steroids and bronchodilators that can help reduce inflammation and open airways. Oxygen therapy may also be used to improve breathing and reduce the risk of low blood oxygen levels, which can damage organs. Lung transplantation may be recommended for patients with more advanced cases of black lung.
Cellular Therapy May Help Treat Black Lung
Cellular therapy may also be a treatment option for those with black lung. Cellular therapy is a regenerative treatment that uses cells from the patient’s own body. A clinician takes a blood sample from the patient and isolates the helpful cells into platelet-rich plasma-platelet concentrate in our lab. We then reintroduce the cells to the patient’s body to target the lungs, which may help to reduce the inflammation within the lungs.
Take the next step to find relief! Contact Lung Health Institute today for more information or to schedule a free consultation.