GPs in optimal position to identify occupational lung disease
A recent spike in cases of silicosis and other occupational lung diseases in Australian tradespeople is a reminder of the importance of taking an occupational history for patients presenting with respiratory problems.
Research in the MJA outlines how occupational lung diseases can still occur in young tradespeople working today, particularly those who are cutting artificial stone used for kitchen bench tops. This creates a group of people who are regularly exposed to respirable crystalline silica at work and at risk of developing silicosis and other lung diseases related to their occupation.
GPs play an important role in identifying early potential lung diseases in younger workers. Taking an occupational history allows GPs to consider the effects of their patient’s workplace, helping to identify and modify exposure at work.