HomeDiseasesAsbestosisEverything You Need to Know About Asbestosis

Everything You Need to Know About Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious, long-term lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. Long-term exposure to these fibres can cause the scarring of the lung tissue and breathing difficulty.


The symptoms of asbestosis can range from mild to severe and typically appear several years after being exposed.


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is resistant to corrosion and heat. It was widely used in products including insulation, floor tiles, and cement until the late 1970s, when its health risks became widely known. The fibres of asbestos can be easily inhaled and can become lodged in the lungs, where they can cause inflammation and scarring.


Symptoms of asbestosis

The symptoms of asbestosis disease typically do not appear until many years after exposure to asbestos. The severity of symptoms can vary.


Asbestosis symptoms and signs may include:

  • A chronic dry cough
  • Dry and crackling sounds from the lungs on inhalation
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Finger and toe tips that seem to be rounder and wider than normal (clubbing)
  • Tightness or pain in the chest


When to see a doctor

If someone has symptoms of asbestosis and believes they might have been exposed to asbestos, they should consult a doctor.


The doctor will examine the lungs and inquire regarding the work history.


If asbestosis is suspected, they may refer the person to a lung disease specialist for additional screening tests.


The following tests may be performed:

  • X-ray of the chest
  • CT scans of the lungs
  • Lung function test (to determine the efficacy of the lungs)


Asbestosis treatment

Asbestosis is diagnosed by a combination of physical examinations, chest X-ray, and lung function tests. CT scans and biopsies may also be used to confirm the diagnosis.


Once asbestosis develops, there is no cure because the damage done to the lungs cannot be reversed.


Nevertheless, some treatments can be helpful, such as:

  • Oxygen therapy: If the oxygen levels in the blood are low, breathing oxygen-rich air from the machine or tank can help ease symptoms.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation: This is an exercise and education programme designed to help people manage their symptoms.


It is also critical that people with asbestosis take the following precautions:

  • If they do, they should stop smoking, since smoking can aggravate symptoms and increase the risk of developing lung cancer.
  • See a doctor for flu and pneumococcal vaccinations, as the lungs will be even more susceptible to infections, including flu and pneumonia.


Asbestosis complications

Asbestosis patients are also more likely to develop certain serious medical problems, such as:

  • Pleural disease: It is characterised by the thickening of the pleura (the lining of the lungs).
  • Mesothelioma: It is a cancer of the lining of the lungs or stomach.
  • Lung cancer


While mesothelioma and lung cancer are the most commonly associated with asbestos cancer, ovarian and laryngeal cancer might also be caused by asbestos exposure.


Asbestosis Prevention

The best way to avoid asbestosis is to limit the exposure to it. This means that people who work in jobs where asbestos is present should take precautions to avoid inhaling the fibres. This includes wearing protective gear, such as respirators, and taking other measures to prevent the release of asbestos fibres into the air.


Since the health risks of asbestos have become widely known, its use has been heavily restricted. However, asbestos is still present in many older buildings and homes, and people who live or work in these buildings may be at risk of exposure. It is important for people to be aware of the potential presence of asbestos in their homes or workplaces and to take steps to minimise their risk of exposure.


In conclusion, asbestosis is a serious lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. It can cause symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest tightness, and a persistent cough and can lead to lung function impairment, heart failure, and even cancer. There is no cure for asbestosis, and treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing further damage to the lungs. Asbestosis can be prevented by avoiding exposure to asbestos and taking precautions to avoid inhaling asbestos fibres.

Trending Blogs

VVF repair surgery

What is a vesicovaginal fistula (VVF)?   A vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) is an unwanted opening that forms between the urinary bladder and the vagina. This hole...

Surgery for hip fracture

Surgery for hip fractures is usually the best treatment option for people whose thigh bone breaks near the hip joint. The most common cause...

Shoulder replacement surgery

About the shoulder joint The shoulder joint is a ball-and-socket joint that connects the upper arm to the body. The rounded head of the arm bone humerus articulates...

Pyeloplasty Surgery

Overview Pyeloplasty is a surgical procedure used to remove narrowing or blockage in the ureteropelvic junction, or UPJ (the area between the ureter and the...