If you’ve been exposed to asbestos the question, “What is asbestosis?” may be on your mind. So, what is asbestosis? Asbestosis is a serious respiratory disease caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. Asbestosis is what occurs when a person inhales asbestos fibers for a prolonged period of time.
What is Asbestosis: Origins of the Disease
When a person is exposed to asbestos, asbestos fibers travel down through the trachea and into the lungs. There, the needle-like fibers become embedded, triggering an inflammatory response and the subsequent development of scar tissue.
As the scar tissue thickens and spreads over the lungs, it makes respiration less efficient. It also reduces the flexibility and elasticity of the lungs, making it more difficult for them to fully expand when the patient inhales. In addition to causing breathing difficulties, this can cause high blood pressure of the lungs (pulmonary hypertension).
What is Asbestosis: How People Get It
Most cases of asbestosis are the result of employment in an industry that requires regular contact with asbestos. Family members can be exposed when employees carry asbestos fibers home on their clothing. People living close to areas where asbestos has been mined or processed can also be exposed through airborne asbestos fibers, though current regulations make this unlikely today.
What is Asbestosis: Signs and Symptoms
Asbestosis takes many years to emerge, usually not showing up for 20 or more years after asbestos exposure. When symptoms of what is called asbestosis do appear, they may include:
- Shortness of breath when exercising
- Shortness of breath while sedentary
- Pain upon inhalation
- Clubbing, or deformity, of the fingertips
Asbestosis can lead to further complications as well. The pulmonary hypertension associated with asbestosis can lead to heart failure. Additionally, people with asbestosis have a greater chance of developing mesothelioma.
What is Asbestosis: Options for Treatment
While there is no cure for asbestosis, medication and supplemental oxygen can be used to help improve a patient’s respiratory function and overall quality of life.
Patients diagnosed with asbestosis are encouraged to seek regular medical treatments and follow-up to ensure that this disease does not develop into mesothelioma.
Were You Diagnosed with Asbestosis?
If you have asbestosis or another asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, call Sokolove Law at 1-888-360-4215 today to learn more about your legal rights.