Silicosis

  • Alternative Names

    Acute silicosis; Chronic silicosis; Accelerated silicosis; Progressive massive fibrosis; Conglomerate silicosis; Silicoproteinosis


    Treatment

    There is no specific treatment for silicosis. Removing the source of silica exposure is important to prevent the disease from getting worse. Supportive treatment includes cough medicine, bronchodilators, and oxygen if needed. Antibiotics are prescribed for respiratory infections as needed.

    Treatment also includes limiting exposure to irritants, quitting smoking, and having routine tuberculosis skin tests.

    People with silicosis are at high risk for developing tuberculosis (TB). Silica is believed to interfere with the body's immune response to the bacteria that causes TB. People with silicosis should have skin tests to check for exposure to TB. Those with a positive skin test should be treated with anti-TB drugs. Any change in the appearance of the chest x-ray may be a sign of TB.


    Support Groups

    Joining a support group where you can meet other people with silicosis or related diseases can help you understand your disease and adapt to its treatments.


    Expectations (prognosis)

    The outcome varies depending on the amount of damage to the lungs.


    Complications
    • Increased risk for tuberculosis
    • Progressive massive fibrosis
    • Respiratory failure

    Calling your health care provider

    Call your health care provider if you are exposed to silica at work and you have symptoms of the disease.