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Disease Profile

Silicosis

Prevalence
Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

Unknown

Age of onset

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ICD-10

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Inheritance

Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease

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Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype

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X-linked
dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.

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X-linked
recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder

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Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.

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Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.

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Not applicable

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Other names (AKA)

Chronic silicosis; Accelerated silicosis; Acute silicosis;

Categories

Lung Diseases

Summary

Silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by breathing in (inhaling) silica dust.[1] There are three types of silicosis:[1][2]

  • Simple chronic silicosis, the most common type of silicosis, results from long-term exposure (usually more than 20 years) to low amounts of silica dust. Simple chronic silicosis may cause people to have difficulty breathing.
  • Accelerated silicosis occurs after 5 to 15 years of exposure of higher levels of silica. Swelling of the lungs and other symptoms occur faster in this type of silicosis than in the simple chronic form.
  • Acute silicosis results from short-term exposure (weeks or months) of large amounts of silica. The lungs become very inflamed and can fill with fluid, causing severe shortness of breath and low blood oxygen levels. A cough, weight loss, and fatigue may also be present. Acute silicosis progresses rapidly and can be fatal within months.

People who work in jobs where they are exposed to silica dust (mining, quarrying, construction, sand blasting, stone cutting) are at risk of developing this condition.[1]

Symptoms

Symptoms of silicosis may include:[1][2] 

Other symptoms of this disease, especially in acute silicosis, may also include:[1][2]

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Severe breathing difficulty
  • Weight loss
  • Night Sweats
  • Chest pains

Cause

Silicosis is caused by breathing in tiny bits of silica dust. When people breathe silica dust, they inhale tiny particles of silica that has crystallized. This silica dust can cause fluid buildup and scar tissue in the lungs that cuts down the ability to breathe.[1][2]

Organizations

Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Providing General Support

    Learn more

    These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

    Where to Start

    • You can obtain information on this topic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC is recognized as the lead federal agency for developing and applying disease prevention and control, environmental health, and health promotion and education activities designed to improve the health of the people of the United States.
    • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
    • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.

      In-Depth Information

      • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
      • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
      • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Silicosis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

        References

        1. Hadjiliadis D. Silicosis. MedlinePlus. May 2013; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000134.htm. Accessed 12/17/2015.
        2. Learn About Silicosis. American Lung Association. 2015; https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/silicosis/learn-about-silicosis.html. Accessed 12/17/2015.

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