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Silicosis is a lung disease caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica, a mineral that is part of sand, rock, and mineral ores such as quartz. It mostly affects workers exposed to silica dust in occupations such mining, glass manufacturing, and foundry work. Over time, exposure to silica particles causes scarring in the lungs, which can harm your ability to breathe.

Learn About Silicosis

What is silicosis and is it serious? Find out what it means to have this disease.

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Silicosis Symptoms, Causes & Risk Factors

Symptoms of silicosis can appear from a few weeks to many years after exposure to silica dust. Symptoms typically worsen over time as scarring in the lungs occurs.

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Diagnosing & Treating Silicosis

If you work or have worked in an occupation with exposure to inhaled silica and have a cough, phlegm, or breathing difficulty, you should be evaluated for silicosis.

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Living with Silicosis

Patients with silicosis need to maintain their health by leading an active lifestyle and avoiding further exposure.

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Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Silicosis

Making notes before your visit, as well as taking along a trusted family member or friend, can help you through the first appointment with your doctor. You'll want to provide a complete exposure history and work together on making a plan for a team approach to manage silicosis.

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This content was developed in partnership with the CHEST Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American College of Chest Physicians.

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