Research into finding a cure or better treatments for silicosis has been frustrating for many, as this permanent disease has many treatments and yet no cure. Prevention has proven to be extremely effective in cutting down the numbers of silicosis worldwide, especially in developed countries, and yet the movement to actual treatments for those afflicted are harder.
Many Types Of Silicosis
There are several types of silicosis that do various amounts of damage and help medical professionals have an idea of the extent to the damage. The acute version of this affliction, for example, is the result of short term exposure over multiple weeks or a low level of months, to silica. Lungs become inflamed quickly and this is a huge red flag as it is a quick progression form of silicosis that can lead to fluid in the lungs and death in less than a year.There’s also accelerated version that usually comes from 5 to 15 years when there are high levels of exposure over time.
The most common form of silicosis comes from many years or even decades of exposure. It is important for individuals suffering from this disease to find out as quickly as possible to get treatment that can help them manage.
Treatments Available But No Cure
The first step to dealing with silicosis once you have been diagnosed is to get away from exposure. Contractors need to get away from cutting granite and refined quartz countertops or dealing with buildings. Bartenders can’t work in a smoking bar (because regular irritants will have a negative effect), and even once removed the damage is still done – so what treatments are available?
Depending on what the patient’s specific lungs look like, treatments could include antibiotics to deal with infections, steroid treatment to strengthen lungs or in extreme cases even lung transplants to remove and replace the damaged tissue as much as possible.
While these treatments have some degree of effectiveness, they are not a cure and don’t reverse the damage that has already been done. For patients that are on the low side of the scale in being afflicted, treatment can often lead to a relatively stable life at least for some amount of time.
Chinese herbal kombucha tea has been seen as an eastern treatment meant to help, though there are few laboratory tests to show it has any difference beyond the basic potential health benefits it brings anyway. There are some tests suggesting that tetrandrine (an herbal extract) might have some effectiveness in slowing the progression, but it is definitely not a cure.
Treatments still in the laboratory stage of testing include multiple gene therapy, aluminum based interactions, and steroid treatments. These are a long way from being anywhere close to being ready for widespread use but offer some hope for further treatment advancements in the near future.