Silicosis Disease Can Strip You and Your Family Of A Quality Life
When people think lung diseases – black lung, mesothelioma, bronchitis, asthma, and tuberculosis is often what comes to mind first. Of all these, black lung and mesothelioma are fatal, but did you know that there is another fatal lung disease that can take away your ability to provide for you and your family – take away your life just for doing your job of providing for yourself and your family.
It’s called Silicosis. It’s a progressively fatal disease that happens because you – somewhere, sometime in life – breathed in crystalline silica dust. This dust comprises of sand, granite, soil, and other rock, and it’s commonly used as a blasting agent.
Worse, if you’re a smoker, it increases the lung damage that silica causes.
If you or someone you know and love has been diagnosed with this terrible disease, you should know where to turn to get compensation to help you financially take care of your family and to pay for your medical treatments and doctors’ visits. A Brisbane silicosis lawyer can help you file for silicosis workers compensation, so you get the money you need at this devastating time.
The key is to focus on getting better - you can’t cure silicosis, but you can stave off the fatal condition. However, this means finding experienced silicosis lung disease lawyers who have successfully filed silicosis claims for people with this disease.
The History of Silicosis and Its Present Situation
Silicosis was extremely common in Australia during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, usually seen in demolition and construction workers. However, the disease goes back even further – to the times of stone cutters and miners who dealt with material that contained the crystalline dust. Many doctors equated silicosis to turning men into stone because their lungs were filled with so much of the silica dust that it impaired their breathing.
With more and more awareness about black lung disease and mesothelioma, workers exposed to crystalline dust are also implementing work practices to keep them safe from developing this fatal lung disease.
Still, it’s apparently not enough!
There’s been a rise in the number of silicosis cases in the past few years according to the New South Wales parliamentary committee. The occurrence is happening to those working with and installing engineered stone products, benchtops and tiles seen in the bathroom or kitchen.
The increase in silicosis cases may also be linked to a lack of understanding the risks that come with working with this kind of stone and not obeying the specified safety regulations and requirements.
It’s why the Queensland Government has banned dry sawing and is auditing companies involved in the fields that work with silica dust. With the rise in the number of people diagnosed with silicosis disease, there’s also a rise in the number of silicosis claims being filed.
Silica Exposure and The Types of Silicosis Disease
Again, silicosis can develop when you’ve been exposed to silica, which is seen in various types of rocks – stone, sand, quartz, brick, mortar, granite, engineered stone products, etc. If you work in any kind of construction or demolition business – sand blasting, excavating, demolition work, mining, quarry work, tunneling, etc. – your chances of developing this fatal disease is high.
Up to 3.7 percent of the 6.6 percent of Australian workers exposed to the crystalline silica dust are heavily exposed to it and are at significant risk of developing the disease. And, even worse, it can develop years after the exposure to develop the condition, making it hard for you to know just where the exposure initially took place. This is why you need experienced silicosis lung disease lawyers helping you.
There are three primary kinds of silicosis disease:
- Acute Silicosis – This type of silicosis occurs within several weeks of heavy silica exposure. The lungs become filled with protein-loaded fluid that can cause someone to become seriously out of breath.
- Accelerated Silicosis – This type of silicosis happens when exposed to high amounts of silica and a rapid rise in lung scarring within 10 years of the initial exposure.
- Chronic Silicosis – The most common type of silicosis that occurs between 10 and 30 years after the exposure to silica.
Anyone of these can cause simple or complex silicosis.
- Simple Silicosis – This version of silicosis will cause multiple white spots, known as nodules, to appear on the lungs that a CT or x-ray can see.
- Complex Silicosis – This version of silicosis causes a plethora of scarring known as progressive massive fibrosis.
An issue with silicosis is that the more scars in the lungs, the more difficult people have in breathing. This can also lead to other health problems in the lungs such tuberculosis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), lung cancer, scleroderma (affects the skin, joints, bones, and blood vessels) and renal disease.
With so much damage it can impose on the body, it’s no wonder health officials are worried about the rise in the number of silicosis patients.
What Are The Symptoms of Silicosis?
The symptoms of silicosis are similar to many other diseases, but how should you know if you should be worried and see a doctor. If you work or have ever worked in any profession where silica dust was prevalent, it’s imperative you see your doctor right away. Some symptoms of silicosis include:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry, non-productive cough (This is generally the earliest symptom of the disease. It can be so minor that people would not even consider it a symptom of the disease.)
- Chest pains
- Appetite loss
- Fatigue, extreme tiredness
- Respiratory failure
If you have any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to see your doctor right away. Waiting could result in immediate death.
How Can Doctors Treat Silicosis Disease Patients
Unfortunately, like mesothelioma and black lung disease, there is no known cure for silicosis disease. The only thing a doctor can do is provide supportive care. This means using inhalers, vaccinations to protect from infections, antibiotics and requesting a person to stop smoking. If late-stage silicosis, patients may need a lung transplant or oxygen treatments.
Since silicosis is a progressive disease, it can take time for symptoms to appear. Patients diagnosed with accelerated silicosis may see huge fibrosis within five years of their diagnosis. People with this disease lose nearly 10 years of their life to it. This is why you need the help of a silicosis lawyer in Brisbane to help you file silicosis claims against the party responsible. This will ensure you get the silicosis compensation you rightly deserve to take care of you and your family financially. There is no cure for this disease, which is why prevention is so important.
What To Do When You’ve Been Diagnosed With Silicosis Disease
Once the shock has worn off, it’s time for you to reach out to experienced silicosis lung disease lawyers in Brisbane. They can assist you in filing silicosis claims against the right entities responsible for your deadly condition. It doesn’t matter how far back you were exposed; you are rightfully entitled to any designated silicosis compensation. With a Brisbane silicosis lawyer by your side, you can focus on the more important things in life – you, your health and your family.
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