Chalicosis or Flint’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
What Is Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease?
Chalicosis or Flint's Disease – This is a pathological condition of lungs in which there is scarring of lung tissues as a result of chronic inhalation of stone dust. This disease is usually found in stonecutters. Chalicosis or Flint's Disease causes inflammation of the bronchioles causing respiratory difficulties.
What Are The Causes Of Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease?
Chalicosis or Flint's Disease as stated is caused by chronic inhalation of stone dust. People most at risk for developing Chalicosis or Flint's Disease are the stonecutters. Due to chronic inhalation of stone dust, minute stone particles infiltrate the lungs and affect the respiratory system and get lodged in the alveoli. The alveoli contain capillaries whose function is to oxygenate the blood and eliminate carbon dioxide. Due to the stone dust being lodged in the alveoli, it scrapes the tissues making them inflamed. This causes development of scar tissue around the stone particles which affect the ability of the alveoli to expand normally. Chalicosis or Flint's Disease may not be caused if the exposure to stone dust is for a short period of time as the body has mechanism in it to remove any unwanted particles.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease?
Initial Symptoms Of Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease Include:
The symptoms of nonproductive cough and shortness of breath can occur with even mild forms of physical exertion like washing dishes or mopping the floor etc. There are many other medical conditions that can cause shortness of breath and cough and need to be checked and ruled out. If Chalicosis or Flint's Disease is left untreated, it can result in potentially serious cardiac conditions. Symptoms of diseases like Chalicosis or Flint's Disease are not observed for years until there is substantial lung damage. This damage is definitely treatable but unfortunately it is a permanent damage and cannot be reversed.
How Is Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease Diagnosed?
As the symptoms caused by Chalicosis or Flint's Disease are very familiar to those caused by other lung conditions like asthma, COPD etc, hence the treating physician would prefer to conduct tests to rule out such disease before arriving at a diagnosis of Chalicosis or Flint's Disease.
To begin with, a chest x-ray and a CT scan of the chest will be conducted to look at the cause producing symptoms. They can be helpful is diagnosing Chalicosis or Flint's Disease. The next step is to conduct a pulmonary function test to observe the function of the lungs as to what is the capacity of the lungs. An exercise stress test will also be conducted to check the endurance of an individual. If a conclusive diagnosis cannot be obtained with these measures then a lung biopsy may be done to look at the underlying cause of the symptoms. A test called as Bronchoalveolar Lavage may be done in which the lungs are washed with saline solution and the cells are examined.
What Are The Treatments For Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease?
At present, there is no definitive cure for Chalicosis or Flint's Disease and the treatments are aimed at controlling symptoms and improving the quality of life of an affected individual. To begin with, the affected individual will be asked to stay away from places where he or she can be exposed to stone dust. A thorough lavage or washing of the lungs is beneficial to eliminate minute particles which may be lodged in the lungs.
Apart from the above, medications like bronchodilators, steroids, and antifibrotic are also used to treat the symptoms of Chalicosis or Flint's Disease. The choice of the medication is totally based on the physician's decision as to which medication would be the most beneficial. Oxygen therapy and Pulmonary rehabilitation are also useful for treating symptoms of Chalicosis or Flint's Disease. Lung transplant is the last resort for treatment of Chalicosis or Flint's Disease.
What Are The Ways To Prevent Chalicosis Or Flint's Disease?
The best way to prevent Chalicosis or Flint's Disease is to prevent exposure to stone dust. If an individual is a professional stonecutter, then he or she needs to take appropriate safety measures so as to minimize the risk of exposure to stone dust. Apart from this, professional stonecutters should have regular medical checkups with chest x-rays so as to detect any damage to the lungs and slow down the progression of the disease.