Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is part of the larger family of interstitial lung diseases. It is not known whether this behavior was a pattern with others that had the disease.
The disease is often fatal: Of the nine cases, seven have died, the report said.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis mostly targets dental professionals, as health officials have been trying to find out why more dentists are killed after diagnosed with the weird patterns in the lung disease cases, according to the latest report disclosed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of total 894 patients, nine patients had been suffering from Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) over nearly two decades among which seven had already died, as per the CDC report.
Although the number of nine patients may not seem a lot - it is just 1 percent of all.
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"A questionnaire was administered to one of the living patients, who reported polishing dental appliances and preparing amalgams and impressions without respiratory protection", CDC stated. "Substances used during these tasks contained ... known or potential respiratory toxicity". The study published Friday is the first to show a link between IPF and dentistry. "Inhalational exposures experienced by dentists likely increase their risk for certain work-related respiratory diseases".
However, pulmonary fibrosis can cause damage to the lung tissues as per the U.S National Institute of Health. The thickened lung tissue makes it hard to get oxygen into the blood, depriving crucial organs like the brain and heart.
"Dentists and other dental personnel have unique exposures at work". It causes progressive and irreversible lung scarring for reasons that are still poorly understood. The initial stage, symptoms that most of the patient's experience is dry chronic cough, joint and muscle pain, weight loss, clubbed fingers and toes, as well as shortness of breath.
"Although the etiology of IPF is unknown, exposures that have been suggested as contributing factors include viral infections, cigarette smoking, and occupations where exposure to dust, wood dust, and metal dust are common", the CDC said.
The chief policy officer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says the report is "not surprising", especially because the IPF patients were older and may not have been using modern practices and protections.