Asbestosis Symptoms and Treatment

Asbestosis is a kind of respiratory disorder which unearths by inhaling asbestos fibers. Prolonged conglomeration of these fibers in your lungs can lead to scars in lung tissue and breathe shortness. Asbestosis symptoms can span from slight to severe, and generally don't get noticed until years after exposure.

The effects of protracted exposure to asbestos basically don't come up for as long as 20-30 years and sometimes even longer. Once exposure to asbestos is withdrawn, however, the fibrosis stops developing in most of the cases

Causes of Asbestosis

Inhaling asbestos fibers can cause scar in the tissues inside the lung. Scarred lung tissue normally does not stretch and contract and cannot perform gas exchange.
The seriousness of the disease is based on how long the individual was exposed to asbestos fibers and the quantity inhaled.

Asbestos exposure takes place in mining and milling sectors, fireproofing, construction, and some other industries. In families of asbestos employees, exposure can also cause from pieces traveled home on the worker's clothing.

Cigarette smoking catapults the risk of developing the disease.

Symptoms of Asbestosis

Some asbestosis symptoms include:

  • Exertion of breath during day time which may lead to even while resting and sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Finger deformity, even clubbing in some cases

Albeit most of these signs are identical to several other breathing disorders, like asthma, the process in which they develop is entirely different. In asbestosis the effects of the ailment surfaces over months and years.

Complications Involved

Asbestosis may offer some other complications, such as an enlarged heart and pulmonary disorder. Club-shaped fingers commonly occur.

  • Chest pain
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiffness in the chest

Potential allied symptoms may add the following:

  • Nail abnormalities
  • Clubbing of fingers

Diagnosis of Asbestosis

The patient’s family and medical history may divulge professional, family, or other types of exposure to asbestos fibers. A physical exam reveals characteristic, dry scars at the bases of the lungs. An arterial blood gas test divulges a decreased oxygen level and a low carbon dioxide quantity. Finally, a chest X-ray and pulmonary function examinations enable diagnosis of this disease.

Exams and Tests

The doctor may hear a crackling sound while examining the patient through his stethoscope (auscultation).
These tests may enable to identify the disease:

  • CT scan of the lungs
  • Chest x-ray
  • Gallium lung scan
  • Pulmonary activity tests

Treatment of Asbestosis

There is no cure treatment available till now. Preventing further exposure to asbestos is the only remedy and is quite essential also. To ease symptoms, chest percussion, postural flush out, and vibration can enable remove secretions out of the lungs.

The doctor may suggest aerosol drugs to ease secretions. People with this condition may require breathing by wearing mask or by a plastic piece fitting the nostrils. Certain patients may undergo lung transplantation.

This disease is incurable. The objective of treatment is to alleviate respiratory systems, in advanced stage of the disease, to control the complexities.

Prevention against Asbestosis

Prevention of asbestos in the workplace is the most effective way to prevent asbestosis. Cessation of any more exposure to asbestos once the asbestosis is identified is imperative as further exposure to asbestos will increases the frequency of progression. However, the disease may develop even after cessation of exposure. Other preventive steps may include:

  • Advise smokers to quit inhaling nicotine, and advise referral to a smoking cessation clinic.
  • Intimate the patients on the work-related precaution of the disease (generally compensable) and inform it to appropriate state or federal agencies.
  • Assessment of seriousness of disease and functional impairment are significant in crafting a treatment and follow-up schedule (i.e., frequency of clinic visits, pulmonary function testing, chest radiographs).
  • Treatment requires instant attention to breathing infections and immunizations against pneumococcal pneumonia and influenza.
  • Conduct prompt antimicrobial treatment of respiratory infections.
  • Assess oxygenation condition at rest and while exercise. If testing divulges hypoxemia at rest or with exercise, suggest supplemental oxygen.
  • Get aware of the complications of asbestosis to accelerate detection and treatment.
  • Provide palliative treatment for the relief of distressing signs in advanced ailment.


Consult a pulmonologist to examine the need for long-term oxygen system and for the handling of advanced cases and complications. If patients smoke, advise them to go to a smoking cessation clinic. Because of the susceptibility of bronchogenic carcinoma, take advice of a thoracic surgeon if a solitary pulmonary nodule is detected in a patient with asbestosis. Offer hospital referral (if possible, at home) when the ailment reaches the terminal stage.