Two of Chile’s miner heroes suffering from incurable lung disease

The 33 miners in Chile became the world’s favorite reality show when they were trapped in a San Jose gold and copper mine and there is no doubting that they have all become celebrities in their own rights. Celebrities who have been to hell and back after enduring 69 days underground

How are the mind and body affected after spending such a long period in the dark, cramped confines of a living tomb? According to officials, the miners have emerged in surprisingly good health. They are all in hospital now, being treated in wards that have been darkened to allow the men to adjust to the light.

According to BBC’s Rajesh Mirchandani, the eldest miner at 63, Mario Gomez, is being treated for both pneumonia and silicosis, an incurable respiratory disease caused by the inhalation of silica dust.  As stated on SilicosisFYI.com, before the lung disease was identified and named in the 1930s it had a number of different names, including  miner’s asthma, grinder’s rot, rock tuberculosis and stonemason’s disease. When the dust particles are inhaled  the lung tissue gets inflamed, leading to scar tissue formation on the lungs, which blocks the flow of oxygen into the lungs and bloodstream.

The second man out of the mine, 39-year-old Mario Sepulveda, also has silicosis.

A few of the unsung heroes have already had  some dental work and on Thursday two other miners will undergo “invasive dental surgery under general anaesthesia” because of “very serious” infections, Health Minister Jaime manalich told reporters.

The excruciatlingly long period underground has also taken a toll on the moners mentally. Some of them are suffering from mild anxiety. The youngest and fifth miner to be rescued, 19-year-old Jimmy Sanchez, is suffering from depression. As reported on Daily Mail, a doctor revealed that the father of a four-month-old baby was struggling to come to terms with his ordeal and that he was not adjusting well to the new surroundings, adding that, “He spoke very little and didn’t seem to connect.”

Psychiatrists and various health professionals  are predicting that the miner’s  lives will be anything but normal in the time to come., but thankfully Chile has given its word that it will look after the men for at least six months – until they can be certain that they have all readjusted.

Are you in Chile? Did you watch the miners being rescued?

Read our coverage about celebrities Nicole Richie and Limp Bizkit, who have both suffered from pneumonia.

Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Victor_Segovia_-_Chilean_miner.jpg, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Franklin_lobos.jpg

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