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Working environment may play bigger role in lung disease cases

There have been many studies regarding occupational exposure and various cancers. However, many health care providers may not take into consideration a worker's occupation when arriving at a diagnosis of a  noncancerous lung disease. Missouri workers who are suffering from a respiratory illness may benefit from informing their doctor about their working environment.

The latest study focused on several types of lung diseases that were not commonly considered to be occupational-related. After analyzing the data, researchers concluded that several illnesses may be contributed to by exposure to certain irritants and pollutants on the job. It was determined that those who are exposed to such hazards as dust, smoke, certain vapors and gases and later developed a lung illness may have contracted the disease through their work. The authors of the study lamented that many health care providers neglect to take environmental factors into consideration when arriving at a diagnosis.

The study based information on data that included noncancerous lung ailments. Other serious diseases that are known to be directly related to work, such as exposure to coal mines and asbestos, were also excluded from the study. Researchers determined that for several serious illnesses, such as asthma, COPD and chronic bronchitis, exposure at work may contribute to a diagnosis.

The authors pointed out that not taking occupational exposure into consideration has negative repercussions for current and future patients. If providers are educated about the possible hazards that workers may be regularly working around, then treatment options may improve the way a lung disease is managed as well as stressing the need for improved preventive measures. Missouri workers who have suffered a work-related injury or illness may qualify for monetary benefits from the workers' compensation insurance program. Those who are confused about how to file a claim or encounter any difficulties during the claims process may benefit from the assistance of an attorney experienced in these types of legal proceedings.

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