Bismarck – With the dangers of vaping and e-cigarette use seemingly in the news everyday, September is Pulmonary Fibrosis Month.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a disease that causes the lungs to become stiff with time.
This eventually leads to a progressive shortness of breath.
A number of factors can lead to the disease, including long-term exposure to things like asbestos, coal dust, and radiation treatments.
The disease mostly affects older adults, but it can be found in children too.
A doctor KX News spoke to said even those of us who use hot tubs are at risk for developing the disease.
“There are chemicals in the Hot Tub, and I’m not sure I know the entire reason for it, but hot tub exposure can cause irritation in the lungs which can cause scarring in the lung and once Pulmonary Fibrosis has started it is progressive,” said Deb Fueller, a Nurse Practioner with CHI-St Alexius Health.
Another major group of people at risk, particularly this time of year farmers.
Those who deal with grain commodities are especially at risk.
The dust from the grain can get into your lungs and cause damage, potentially leading to pulmonary fibrosis down the road.
“If you’re going to be exposed to grain dust on a regular basis, like in North Dakota during the harvest season, I would minimize your exposure, so try to stay in open areas, wear a mask, make sure its a good mask so that your not breathing in this irritant and allowing it to damage your lungs,” said Fueller.
Doctors say if you’re experiencing a shortness of breath that seems to be getting worse, get yourself checked out right away in order to get a proper diagnosis.