Jun 17, 2019 | Updated: 11:38 AM EDT

Seafarers Have The Highest Chance In Contracting Lung Disease

Dec 03, 2015 03:50 AM EST

(Photo : Reuters) Seafarers are the most likely to contract lung disease.

Research found that seafarers have the highest risk of contracting Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Coal miners and industrial cleaning workers follow next in the list.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a lung condition that affects the person with the inability to breathe properly. Other symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, cough and increased mucus production.

The research is based on information from more than 228,00 people. This study was presented at the British Thoracic Society in London. The Imperial College London conducted the research and found out that exposure to particulates in diesel motor exhausts on vessels may account for the seafarers' risk on getting afflicted with COPD. Data from spirometry testing was used in the research. Spirometry is a breathing test that measures the lung function of the person.

"This study has shed more light on the specific occupations associated with an increased risk of COPD in the UK general population." Dr. Sara De Matteis, the lead researcher, said.

"Some of them were already known, such as coal miners, but others are new findings such as seafarers or cleaners," she added. Dr. Matteis also added that these workers are exposed to this risk for decades before laws and policies of industrial standards and introduced protection from hazardous substances. "However we need to be vigilant and monitor and minimise levels of exposure to hazardous agents in these jobs," she added.

Dr. Lisa Davies, chair of the British Thoracic Society executive committee, had iterated that workplaces have the key role in monitoring and promoting better lung health. This may include offering lung function testing, minimizing exposure to chemicals and also cigarette smoking policies. "The occupations highlighted in this report must take the issue on board quickly and strengthen their procedures as appropriate," she added.

There are around three million people in United Kingdom who suffers from COPD. However, the reported cases and formally diagnosed patients are just around 900,000.

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