Asbestosis is a respiratory disorder caused by asbestos fiber inhalation. When inhaled, asbestos fibers accumulate in the lungs and can cause lung tissue scarring and breathing difficulties. Asbestosis generally occurs after prolonged asbestos exposure, and in severe cases, asbestosis may lead to death. Because asbestosis has no cure, asbestosis treatment consists of alleviating symptoms.

How Does Asbestosis Occur?  

When a person inhales air, the air passes through the lungs and eventually flows into microscopic air sacs called Alveoli. Alveoli release oxygen into the bloodstream and filter out carbon dioxide and other foreign particles. The carbon dioxide and foreign particles enter the upper airway and are expelled from the body. If unwarranted particles enter the lungs, the Alveoli’s immune cells (called macrophages) will attract the particles and expel them from the body.

Because asbestos fibers are extremely durable, the Alveoli’s immune cells cannot destroy them. As a result, inhaled asbestos fibers remain lodged in the lungs and cause inflammation and scarring. When asbestos fibers accumulate in the lungs for a long time, inflammation and scarring will eventually prevent the Alveoli from separating oxygen and carbon dioxide. Consequently, lung capacity diminishes and asbestosis occurs.

Asbestosis Symptoms

Usually, asbestosis occurs after long term asbestos exposure and symptoms take 20-30 years to manifest. Typical asbestosis symptoms include:

  • shortness of breath
  • coughing
  • tightness in chest
  • chest pain

Less common asbestosis symptoms include:

  • finger clubbing
  • nail abnormalities

Asbestosis Treatment

Although there is no cure for asbestosis, there are treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms. For example, asbestosis treatments that help alleviate shortness of breath may include:

  • postural drainage
  • chest percussions
  • vibration

Contact Us 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with asbestosis, contact us today to determine if you have a case and are entitled to compensation.

Published November 17, 2011 by