Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Workers Compensation
COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is also referred to as chronic obstructive airway diseases (COAD). COPD is actually a group of diseases that are evidenced by the pathological limitation of airflow in your airway. This pathological limitation of airflow is not fully reversible.
COPD is an umbrella term for several lung illnesses. These include emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
COPD is a lung disease that is marked by your lungs being damaged. When you have COPD, the tubes that transport air in and out of your lungs (your airways), become partially obstructed. This makes it difficult for you to breathe.
COPD = major health problem
COPD is a major health problem in the United States. Over 12 million Americans have been diagnosed with this disease, and another 12 million could well have COPD and not know it. It is the third leading cause of death in the United States. 120,000 people die from COPD each year in the United States. This equates to one death every four minutes. In addition to this, COPD can bring about major, long-term disability.
COPD is a disease that develops slowly over a period of years. In fact, it may be many years before you start to experience any of the signs and symptoms of the disease.
Signs you might have COPD
Here are some signs and symptoms that are an indication of COPD. They include:
- Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
- A purplish or bluish discoloration of the skin around your nails and lips (cyanosis)
- A decrease in tolerating exercise
- A persistent cough with blood or sputum
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, you should go to your doctor as soon as possible. This is because the diagnosis of COPD is usually suggested by the signs and symptoms that you are having.
COPD is a clinical diagnosis. There is no one single test that you can take that will enable your doctor to make a definitive diagnosis of COPD. A physical examination is performed, and your work history is important.
Although cigarette smoking is far and away the number one cause of COPD, your occupation may well have brought about your COPD. It you work or have worked in a work environment where you were exposed to occupational pollutants, such as cadmium, asbestos or silica; this may be what has caused your COPD. If you work around dust or fumes, this may have brought about the disease.
If this is true, you may be eligible for workers compensation benefits. Many people think that you can only get workers compensation benefits when you are hurt or injured on the job. However, illnesses that result from the conditions and environment that you work or have worked in also may qualify you to be entitled to receive workers compensation benefits.
Proving you have COPD
The job of proving that your COPD was caused by the conditions that you work or have worked in can be a difficult thing to do. More than likely, you are going to need a workers compensation attorney to go to bat for you if you are going to receive the workers compensation benefits that are rightfully yours because of COPD.