I am a 55 year old carpenter who has remodeled homes on and off for the last 25 years. but not on a daily basis. In 2001 I visited the world trade center site breathed in a large amount of the white dust that was covering everything. my chest burned right in the center of my chest for 3 weeks. After that, whenever I breathed dust my chest would hurt right in the exact same spot - about 2 square inches 6 inches down from my adam's apple and slightly right of center. The pain would usually go away in a day especially as I would eat a carrot, drink some water and go for a jog as I was living pretty healthily otherwise. In 2009 I was scraping a water damaged ceiling from a an old bathroom leak in the floor above and immediately I had the pain in the same spot again. However this time instead of quickly subsiding it actually seemed to grow and worsen. I became pretty scared and depressed, lost weight and became convinced by number was up. I had the dust tested for asbestos but it was negative.in the months and years that followed I remember it felt like my chest was somehow hardening and I could actually sort of get it to crack with stretching. My internist assured me it was costacondritus which made little sense to me as how could dust exposure cause that? a month ago I was exposed to old plaster dust and once again the sever symptoms came back. I went to yale occupational health and they listened to my lungs, heard my history and had me do a breathing test into a machine. I had a very high score on the test (good score) and was told that I probably just have an allergic reaction to certain dusts and that asbestos exposure in small amounts is not really a health concern - that you have to work with it daily for years to get those type of lung diseases/cancers. At first I was relieved, but I still have a very pointed exact burning in one spot, a tightening chest and am still worried. Thank you for any help or suggestions -
Dust exposure does not directly result in costochondritis. However, if you are exposed to dust and you cough with enough frequency, then you could develop costochondritis.
Regarding asbestos: The Yale folks explained things correctly with regard to asbestos exposure and asbestos-related disease. What did they think was the diagnosis (explanation of your symptoms)?
Have you had a chest x-ray recently? If so, what were the results/findings?
How old are you? Do you smoke or have you smoked in the past? If so, how much (packs/day) and for how many years?
~ Dr. Parks
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