Siderosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention
What Is Siderosis?
Siderosis, also known by the name of Welder's Lung is a pathological condition of the lungs caused by chronic exposure to iron oxide dust, usually at the workplace. Siderosis can be identified on x-rays of the chest as minute opaque spots on the lungs. Generally, Siderosis does not cause any symptoms but it can give rise to other disease conditions which can cause significant symptoms. The major risk factor for developing Siderosis is working at a place where iron is used extensively.
Some of the industries where iron is used extensively are:
- Iron rolling
- Making of steel
- Metal sheet working
What Are The Causes Of Siderosis?
Siderosis as stated is caused by chronic exposure to iron oxide fumes at the workplace. This disease is usually found in welders and miners. Iron foundry workers and hematite miners are also at increased risk for developing Siderosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Siderosis?
Siderosis usually does not cause any symptoms. It can also be called as a benign form of pneumoconiosis. It has still not been completely established whether Siderosis causes any symptoms, because if any symptoms are caused it is usually due to other medical conditions similar to Siderosis.
How Is Siderosis Diagnosed?
Siderosis/Welder's Lung can easily be diagnosed with the help of radiographic studies:
- X-rays: Chest x-rays will show extremely minute nodules seen mostly in the middle-third part of the lungs or the lower lungs. These nodules disappear after exposure to the offending metal is removed.
- CT Scan: A CT scan of the chest will show minute nodules with extremely fine branching lines distributed diffusely in the lung.
What Are Treatments For Siderosis?
Siderosis is preventable disease condition. Since this disease does not cause any significant symptoms hence no medications are given to treat this disease. In case of some respiratory illness as a result of this disease, medications like bronchodilators or corticosteroids may be given to free up the airways.
What Are The Ways To Prevent Siderosis?
The main way to prevent development of Siderosis is to eliminate exposure to iron oxide fumes. In case of professional welders or miners, they need to make sure to take appropriate safety measures when they start working like wearing a facemask. Apart from this the following steps can be taken:
- Adequate ventilation of the workplace
- The employer should make sure that all workers get regular checkups with the physician so as to detect any lung damage early and slow down the progression of the disease process
- In case if an individual is a smoker, then he or she needs to avoid smoking in the workplace and even better quit smoking altogether.