Of the variety of illnesses which can strike those that live in the wastes, silicopneumia is one of the more benign afflictions. It is comorbid with silicosis. Silicosis is an incurable disease brought on by inhalation of fine to ultrafine quartz particles which remain in the lungs. The sharp particles cannot be expelled and the body forms cysts around each one which in turn reduces lung capacity. Because pathogens can be brought in on the particles and the cysts can burst and reform, infections are common. The greater the degree of progression of silicosis, the greater the potential for developing silicopneumonia. Silicopneumonia related complications are the number one cause of death for the elderly on Odemark. Prevention of silicosis by wearing properly fitted filter masks when not in environments where the air is free from fine particulates is recommended. Proper workplace air controls when engaged in tasks where the creation of fine to ultrafine particulates cannot be stressed enough. Silicosis has no acute condtion, it accumulates and worsenes over time. Symptoms can include the blueing of lips as the body becomes unable to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. The feeling of being at a high altitude, thin air and not being able to breathe are common complaints. Symptoms worsen with activity and exercise becomes nearly impossible. Patients with moderate to severe silicosis have an elevated chance of devoloping acute silicopneumonia, a condition where silicosis cysts burst and flood airways further reducing the ability to purge carbon dioxide. Activity and exercise which elevates heart rate and breathing rate can trigger the cascade of silicopneumonia. Patients typically present with high fevers, and cough which produces excessive mucous. If the coughing is not controlled it can cause more cysts to burst and worsen the condition. It is this cycle which pushes acute cases into chronic and without aggressive management may result in death with the patient drowning in their own fluids.
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