Siderosis refers to the presence of iron in tissue. It is also a name given to a disease caused by huge amounts of iron in the lung tissue, also known as 'Welder's lung'. This article further describes the occupational disease- Siderosis.
Who gets Siderosis?
Siderosis is usually seen in people who work in jobs where they inhale dust or salts with high iron content. Some of these jobs include welding and iron ore mining, steelmaking, iron or steel rolling, metal polishing industries, and work with ochre pigments
Symptoms of Siderosis:
Some of the common symptoms of Siderosis are:
Diagnosis of Siderosis can be made by:
History- A detailed occupational history is very important. It must include information like the exact job of the person, the number of hours per day he/ she was exposed, the safety equipment he used and the number of years he/ she has been exposed. A detailed history of respiratory problems is also required.
Physical examination: Abnormal breath sounds may be heard
Chest X rays: X ray changes may be observed
Pulmonary function tests: Pulmonary function tests can help to make accurate assessments of how much damage the lung has undergone.
Medical management: Desferrioxamine is used as a chelating agent.
Nutrition: A diet which is low in Iron is recommended. Early detection of Siderosis, and decreasing exposure to iron dust or salts, will help delay the progression of the disease. Beer must be avoided, as it is high in iron content.
Prevention of Siderosis is very important. Those working in iron industries must take all precautions to prevent Siderosis. Some of the common precautions that can be taken are the use of a mask and regular checkups.
All industries have norms and rules to protect the health of their employees. It is their duty to educate the employees about the hazards of the job and provide safety equipment.
Initially, it was thought that Siderosis was a benign disease and could be completely prevented by use of a mask. Latest research shows that even people, who have been regularly using masks, have respiratory difficulties and pulmonary diseases.
One research has shown that inhalation of iron is less harmful than some other metals. However, many industrial jobs involve exposure to multiple pollutants. In these cases it was found that pulmonary obstruction caused by Siderosis is more easily treated, than pulmonary obstruction caused by other causes. This research shows that correct diagnosis and proper investigation is very important in the management of occupational diseases.
Research is also showing that inhalation of iron is often associated with death. Iron has also been shown to cause fibrosis in the lungs. All this indicates that the presence of Siderosis in the lungs must be taken very seriously, and treated immediately. It also further emphasizes the need for better safety measures in industries
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