JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

A 2019 Update on Occupational Lung Diseases: A Narrative Review

Kevin P Vlahovich, Akshay Sood
Pulmonary Therapy 2021, 7 (1): 75-87
33385174
Occupational lung diseases (OLDs) are caused, aggravated or exacerbated by exposures at the workplace. OLDs encompass a wide range of respiratory diseases similar to that found outside the work environment. Occupational asthma is the most commonly diagnosed OLD. Other OLDs may include acute and chronic conditions, ranging from hypersensitivity pneumonitis to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) to pulmonary fibrosis. Historically, research into OLDs has centered on diseases resulting from exposures relevant to high-income countries and more obvious hazardous occupations, such as silicosis in coal miners. Peer-reviewed publications in 2019 have broadened the focus to include low- and middle-income countries and once-overlooked occupations such as dry cleaning and animal husbandry. Technological advances and greater understanding of disease etiology have allowed researchers and clinicians to implement improved risk analysis, screening and mitigation strategies to not only treat disease once it occurs, but to identify at-risk populations and institute protections to prevent or limit the negative impacts of workplace hazards. As recognition of OLDs as a worldwide threat in a variety of occupations increases, research is allowing for the development of better treatments and preventive measures that advance workers' rights and ensure their continued good health.

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