Lung Disease Killing Dentists in Mysterious Cluster, CDC Report Says

A Mysterious Lung Disease Is Striking Virginia Dentists

A Mysterious Lung Disease Is Striking Virginia Dentists

The CDC reported that idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis affected eight male dentists and a dental technician out of 900 patients studied, Newsweek reported. Almost seven of the cases found dead due to lung disease, and due to chronic disease, two more patients found dying.

"A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection", according to the CDC.

The investigation came after one dentist diagnosed with the lung disease alerted the CDC to the pattern at the care center. However, "dental personnel are exposed to infectious agents, chemicals, airborne particulates, ionizing radiation and other potentially hazardous materials".

While the doctors can not find what caused the scarring condition to the cluster of dentists, some experts have suggested viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common, as the contributing factors to IPF. "Inhalational exposures experienced by dentists likely increase their risk for certain work-related respiratory diseases".

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In theory, he would have been exposed to silica and other potentially toxic compounds. Casamassimo noted that the cluster patients were all older so they were probably not abreast with current safety and personal protection practices. "Younger dentists are taught differently than in the past, so they know to delegate certain work or procedures to laboratories that meet more safe and stringent ventilation requirements".

Pulmonary fibrosis causes scarring of the lungs, the US National Institutes of Health says. Going in depth, once the patient has been diagnosed with this disease, there is hardly three to five year of survival chances. The lung tissues get thickened over a certain time period, making it hard to get the required amount of oxygen to the important organs such as brain and heart. It is a type of interstitial lung disease, which involves the interstitium but does not affect the blood vessels or airways directly. Over time, the scarring gets worse and it becomes hard to take in a deep breath and the lungs can not take in enough oxygen.

While that does not sound like a lot, it represents 1 percent of the total IPF patients.

Other symptoms related to the affliction are the loss of energy and tiredness, appetite loss, unexplained weight loss, and tightness or pain in the chest.

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