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Recurring chest pain from construction dust
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Recurring chest pain from construction dust

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 -
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

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

This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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Philip D Parks, MD, MPH, MOccH, F...Blank
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