Those who work in construction and other related industries often come in contact with silica, beryllium, and other hazardous substances while on the job.
A recent study conducted by Dutch researchers and published in the journal Respiratory Research has found that exposure to these substances can be hazardous to workers’ health. One condition that workers are at risk of developing is sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease caused by the collection of cells called granulomas. This disease most often impacts the lungs, lymph nodes, heart, eyes and other vital organs. If this condition isn’t promptly treated, it could lead to damage to the organs and even death.
What are the warning signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis?
According to some health experts, sarcoidosis is caused by an immune response to the exposure to hazardous substances. It can be treated and can even go away on its own in some cases.
The most common warning signs and symptoms of sarcoidosis include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swelling and inflammation in the joints
- Unexplained weight loss
- A dry cough
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Increased heart rate
- Irritation of the eyes
- A skin rash
What is the link between hazardous substances and sarcoidosis?
The Dutch study evaluated 256 patients who suffered from sarcoidosis and looked for exposure to silica, beryllium, aluminum, and zirconium. In addition, they evaluated a control group of 73 obstructive sleep apnea patients.
Both groups in the study were asked to fill out a survey on their work history. Since obstructive sleep apnea is not linked to environmental factors, researchers chose to include the control group in the study. What they discovered was:
- About a third of sarcoidosis patients were exposed to silica and other hazardous substances at work.
- Only about a quarter of obstructive sleep apnea patients were exposed to the same substances at work.
- In addition, researchers found that the immune system reacts to silica and other hazardous substances in both the sarcoidosis and obstructive sleep apnea patients.
What should I do if I developed sarcoidosis on the job?
If you notice any of the symptoms or warning signs of sarcoidosis, the first thing you should do is notify your employer and get medical attention. While these symptoms may overlap with other diseases and health conditions, you will need a proper diagnosis from your doctor. You may also need to take time off from work while you recover.
It’s also critical that you speak to an experienced San Diego workers’ compensation attorney to learn about the legal options available to you. You may be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits while you’re unable to work. These benefits would cover both medical expenses and wage loss.
Getting benefits isn’t easy and filing a claim can be a complex process. An attorney at McLaughlin & Sanchez can help guide you through the process and advocate for fair and complete compensation.
To get started, contact us online and schedule your free case review.