Along with mesothelioma, lung cancer, pleural disease, and several other conditions, asbestosis is one of several diseases associated with the inhalation of asbestos fibers over a prolonged period of time.
What’s the problem?
The effects of long-term exposure to asbestos typically don’t show up for 20 to 30 years after initial exposure. Signs and symptoms develop when damage and scarring caused by the asbestos fibers lead to stiffness in your lung tissue so that your lungs can’t contract and expand normally. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of asbestosis include:
- shortness of breath (dyspnea)
- persistent dry cough
- chronic fatigue
- chest pain that gets worse on a full breath (pleuritic pain)
- unexplained weight loss
- crackling sound in inhalation when a doctor listens to the lungs through a stethoscope
Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestosis, and no treatments that can reverse the lung damage caused by exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis treatments are designed to relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with asbestosis. Treatments for asbestosis are split into three main categories: surgical treatments, drugs, and alternative treatments.
People with asbestosis may also develop dangerous complications that occur as a result of reduced lung function. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, and buildup of fluid in the lungs. In addition, people who have developed asbestosis may be at risk of other asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma.