A new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed that dentists mysteriously die of fatal lung diseases than that of the general population in a Virginia Hospital over the last two decades.
The study indicated a high incidence of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) among dentists. Interestingly, out of the 900 IPF cases reported in the hospital, eight dentists and one dental technician had the disease. All the dentists identified with this disease were men.
Even though this count does not seem that big, as it forms just one percent of the total cases reported in the hospital. But it should be noted that only 0.38 percent of people living in the United States are dentists.
Seven of the dental experts have already died of the disease, while the remaining two are reportedly undergoing treatment. IPF is a disease which is characterized by the scarring of lungs, thus preventing the supply of oxygen to the heart and blood. In most of the cases, patients die within three to five years after the diagnosis.
Some of the common symptoms of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis are shortness of breath, dry cough, weight loss, fatigue, joint pain and clubbed fingers.
During the study, researchers at the CDC asked one of the living patients to answer a set of questionnaire to figure out the factors which triggered the disease among dentists.
"A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection. Substances used during these tasks contained silica, polyvinyl siloxane, alginate, and other compounds with known or potential respiratory toxicity. Although no clear etiologies for this cluster exist, occupational exposures possibly contributed," said CDC in the study report.
The CDC also revealed that the etiology of IPF is still unknown, but they listed smoking, viral infections, and occupations that expose people to dust, wood dust, and metal dust as contributing factors to this disease.