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Pneumoconiosis causes and symptoms

Coal workers in Colorado and across the nation are often prone to get an occupational lung disease called pneumoconiosis. Commonly referred to as Black Lung Disease, pneumoconiosis is caused by inhaling coal into the lungs over a long period of time. After a worker inhales enough coal dust, breathing becomes more difficult for them as their lungs have hardened. Workers with pneumoconiosis may also be at risk for secondary conditions like lung cancer and pulmonary tuberculosis.

When a worker inhales coal dust, the particles cause damage to the lungs and the air sac walls become inflamed. Scar tissue from the coal damage then results in the worker's lungs becoming stiff. Although a doctor may be able to treat a worker's pneumoconiosis symptoms, there are no cures for the disease.

Pneumoconiosis is classified into two categories based on its severity. The less severe kind is called coal workers' pneumoconiosis while the more serious kind is called progressive massive fibrosis. The severity of a person's pneumoconiosis will greatly depend on the length of exposure to coal dust and the working conditions while the worker was being exposed to the harmful particles.

Many workers do not develop symptoms of pneumoconiosis until they have inhaled coal dust for many years. A coal worker who develops symptoms of the disease has the right to seek workers' compensation benefits. A lawyer may be able to help a worker with pneumoconiosis to build a strong claim and pursue the maximum benefit payments for their medical care and lost wages.

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