Asbestosis is a chronic lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to high concentrations of asbestos fibers in the air. It is primarily an occupational disease, but there are reports of secondhand exposure as well. Asbestosis is characterized by lung scarring and inflammation, which can lead to difficulty breathing and other symptoms. When a person is exposed to asbestos for a long period of time, the lungs become scarred and inflamed.
This prevents the lungs from expanding and relaxing normally, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest tightness. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestosis. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer in people who have been exposed to asbestos, so it is important for those who have been exposed to avoid smoking.Your prognosis and treatment plan depend on how asbestos affects your lungs. It may take several years for any sign of asbestos-related illness to be detected.
Lung or pleural scarring may not affect your overall health; however, severe scarring, lung cancer, or mesothelioma may.Asbestos has a tendency to separate into fibers, which cause parenchymal and pleural lung disorders when inhaled. Malignant and benign disorders associated with exposure to asbestos fibers usually occur decades after. Benign asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis, restrictive lung disease, rounded atelectasis, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, and exudative pleural effusions.Exposure to large amounts of asbestos-containing dust can occur during catastrophic events, such as the collapse of the World Trade Center in 2001 in New York. The inhalation of asbestos fibers was first linked to the development of lung diseases in 1890, and the first deaths attributable to asbestos exposure were reported in 1907.If the medical history and images suggest an asbestos-related lung disorder, finding asbestos fibers or asbestos bodies in the lung may help confirm the diagnosis if no other etiology is found.
Being exposed to asbestos and inhaling or ingesting its fibers can cause a variety of cancers, including cancers of the lung, larynx, ovaries, and mesothelioma (a type of cancer that attacks the mesothelium or the thin linings that protect the heart, abdomen, and lungs). Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause a number of respiratory diseases, such as lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural plaques, benign pleural effusion and malignant mesothelioma.Asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma begin to develop at least 20 years after exposure to asbestos. These diseases are known respectively as pleural mesothelioma, peritoneal mesothelioma, pericardial mesothelioma and testicular mesothelioma.If a patient develops mesothelioma (a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos), he will eventually experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, and chest pain.