Asbestosis – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis

Asbestosis Symptoms
Asbestosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

A detailed medical history, exposure history, and a chest X-ray or CT scan that indicates scarring of the lung tissues are commonly used to identify asbestosis. This information, coupled with breathing tests, aids your doctor in determining the severity of your asbestosis and the health of your lungs.

Asbestosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

When asbestos fibers are breathed, they can induce lung tissue inflammation and scarring. Asbestosis is one of over 200 kinds of pulmonary fibrosis, commonly known as an interstitial lung disease, caused by prolonged exposure to these fibers.

Any of these names may be used to describe your condition. Because the exposure usually occurs at work, it’s also known as occupational lung illness.

What are the Symptoms of Asbestosis?

The effects of long-term asbestos exposure usually don’t manifest themselves for 10 to 40 years after the original exposure. Asbestosis has a variety of indications and symptoms;

  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent dry cough
  • Chest pain or Tightness
  • Weight loss from loss of appetite
  • While breathing in, dry, crackling sound can be heard in the lungs.
  • Fingertips and toes that are wider and rounder than typical (clubbing)

How Is Asbestosis Diagnosed?

A detailed medical history, exposure history, and a chest X-ray or CT scan that indicates scarring of the lung tissues are commonly used to identify asbestosis. This information, coupled with breathing tests, aids your doctor in determining the severity of your asbestosis and the health of your lungs.

If you have a history of asbestos exposure and are experiencing increased shortness of breath, you should consult your primary care physician for asbestosis. He or she will almost certainly recommend you to a lung specialist (pulmonologist).

Your doctor will inquire about your breathing during the visit, both at rest and during exercise. Your doctor will also inquire about your work history in order to ascertain how much asbestos exposure you have had.

As a result, it’s a good idea to gather the following information ahead of time:

  • Your symptoms and when they first appeared
  • Treatments used in the past for the symptoms and how effective they were’
  • The work you’ve done throughout your career; the amount of time you’ve spent in each job; the type of work you’ve done.
  • At work, the things you came into touch with and whether or not you used protection gear
  • History of smoking
  • Any outdated medical documents, such as X-rays or CT scans of the chest

Your doctor will listen to your lungs during the physical examination to see if the sounds are normal. The following tests below may be needed by your doctor;

  • Chest X-ray
  • CT scan
  • Lung function test

How Is Asbestos Treated?

Although there is no treatment that will reverse the damage caused by asbestos, there are several activities that can be taken to assist decrease the disease’s course and alleviate symptoms. Avoiding more asbestos exposure as well as other irritants like cigarette smoke will assist to halt the disease’s progression.

Your doctor may recommend medication and breathing therapies to assist relieve dyspnea and preserve your overall lung health. To manage asbestosis, your doctor may suggest the following:

  • Smoking should be stopped as soon as feasible. Smoking can exacerbate the effects of asbestos and hasten the disease’s course. The American Lung Association offers a variety of smoking cessation programs to help people who are trying to quit.

It’s possible that you’ll be prescribed oxygen to assist you get more air into your lungs. Oxygen is delivered from a tank either through a tube that fits into the nostrils or through a mask. Learn more about the benefits of oxygen treatment.

Pulmonary rehabilitation is an exercise program that is meant to help all individuals with chronic lung diseases maintain their maximum levels of activity.

Your doctor may recommend surgery and send you to a lung transplant expert in the most severe cases.

Asbestos Management

Your doctor can assist you in managing your symptoms, but you can also help yourself stay healthy by doing the following:

  • Maintain your nutrition by eating a well-balanced meal low in salt and drinking enough of water.
  • Get enough sleep every night and, if necessary, take a short break during the day.
  • Keep yourself as active as possible by exercising on a regular basis, but don’t overdo it.
  • Wash your hands frequently and get flu and pneumonia immunizations as directed by your doctor to avoid getting sick.
  • When air pollution is bad and pollen levels are high, stay inside.
  • Secondhand smoke, traffic fumes, pollution, aerosol sprays, and vapors from items such as paint, kerosene, and cleaning chemicals are all contaminants that can cause shortness of breath.
  • In chilly weather, cover your lips and nose with a scarf to avoid breathing in cold air.

What to Anticipate

When you have asbestosis, you may become ill more frequently. You may need to make lifestyle modifications as your disease advances, such as utilizing oxygen therapy, attending pulmonary rehabilitation, and learning to go about your daily life in a way that keeps you from being too short of breath.

Patients with advanced asbestosis may need to be hospitalized for breathing assistance. It’s vital to talk to your doctor about how to stay as healthy as possible if you have a lung illness.

If your doctor believes you will need to be hospitalized as a result of your asbestosis, they may suggest having a productive talk about palliative care alternatives, such as filling out an advance directive and taking other steps to ensure that all of your desires are honored.

Asbestos-Related Questions to Ask Your Doctor

You might wish to ask your primary care physician to refer you to a doctor who has dealt with asbestosis before. When you or a loved one is diagnosed with asbestosis, you and your family are likely to have a lot of worries and questions.

Here are a few questions you should ask your doctor:

  • How far along is my illness?
  • What is the most effective treatment for my ailment?
  • What medications will be prescribed for me, and what are the potential adverse effects?
  • Should I seek treatment other than medication?
  • How much asbestosis management expertise do you have, and should I consult a specialist?
  • Is it possible that I’ll require a lung transplant?
  • Is there someone in my family who might be in danger?
  • Asbestos insulation is used in my home and office. Is it going to make things worse for your lungs?


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