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As its name implies, the term “occupational lung disease” refers to an array of lung abnormalities due to repeated and long-term exposure to certain irritants on a job, all of which may have lasting effects even after exposure ends. Because of the nature of their location, intricacies and environment, some occupations put workers at more risk for occupational lung diseases than others – and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not only coal miners who are in danger in this regard. Employees of a car garage or textile factory, for example, can be exposed to hazardous chemicals, dusts and fibers that may yield a lifetime of lung issues if not properly diagnosed and treated.
Alpha One Quick Facts According to the American Lung Association:
- Occupational lung diseases are the primary cause of occupation-related sickness in the U.S. based on severity, frequency and preventability of the sicknesses.
- Most occupational lung diseases are caused by long-term, repeated exposure, but even a severe single exposure to a hazardous element can damage the lungs.
- Occupational lung diseases are, fortunately, preventable.
- Smoking can increase both the severity of an occupational lung disease and the risk of lung cancer.
Diagnosis of Occupational Lung Diseases
Like other lung disease variants, occupational lung diseases usually require an initial chest x-ray or CT scan in order to make a clinical diagnosis. Additionally, a range of tests may be ordered to determine the severity and type of the disease, including:
- Pulmonary Function Tests
- Microscopic Examination From Biopsy or Autopsy of Tissue, Cells and Fluids From the Lungs
- Biochemical and Cellular Studies of Lung Fluids
- Measurement of Respiratory or Gas Exchange Functions
- Examination of Airway or Chronchial Activity
Symptoms of Occupational Lung Diseases
While the symptoms of occupational lung diseases may resemble other medical conditions or issues, the following are the most common symptoms, but each individual may experience occupational lung disease differently:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Tightness in the chest
- Abnormal breathing pattern
The Chest X-Ray B-Reading Factor
Into this foray comes the “B-reading,” a special reading of a standard chest x-ray film performed by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-certified physician. This reading looks for changes on the chest x-ray that may indicate exposure and disease caused by agents such as asbestos or silica. These readings are considered “specialized” because doctors who are NIOSH-certified use a specific protocol to read and record the findings as developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO). The protocol provides rules for systematically examining the x-ray via a step-by-step method and recording certain abnormalities or changes on the chest x-ray that can be attributed to the inhalation of dusts and fibers, such as silica and asbestos.
The diagnosis and imaging of occupational lung diseases is definitely evolving rapidly, and Alpha One Imaging is right at the forefront of B-read chest X-ray solutions in this area. As a provider of mobile x-rays, EKGs and ultrasounds, Alpha One’s goal is to simplify and accelerate preventative patient care. As such, we offer a myriad of benefits when it comes to visiting your place of work to complete occupational lung disease-related x-rays for employees exposed to potentially harmful conditions.
How Alpha One Makes a Difference
Perhaps your industrial company employs workers exposed to harmful conditions, including volatile chemicals or asbestos, and desires a battery of chest x-rays for these employees – that’s precisely where we come in. Our experts can perform on-site annual B-read chest x-rays for such personnel in order to diagnose and prevent the progression of diseases like mesothelioma via early detection.
In so doing, companies can better care for their workforce and save money by allowing Alpha One to come to their office as opposed to using a hospital or clinic. By treating your workers on-site, we are able to:
- Deliver a high standard of proactive, preventative care.
- Offer digital reporting to communicate directly with physicians, relieving your company of any extra work or effort.
Alpha One Imaging is committed to providing superior mobile medical diagnostic imaging services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us today for more information.