If you worked in an industry where asbestos exposure was a part of the job, you may have wondered for years, if not decades, what would happen to you in the future. When you began not feeling well, you may have thought your worst fears were realized -- you had mesothelioma, the rare cancer caused by exposure to this toxic material.
You may have initially felt some relief when your doctor diagnosed you with asbestosis, even though it does not have a cure either. Then, when reality set in, you realized that your life would change even if you didn't want it to. Do you know wonder how your life needs to change due to this chronic illness?
Here's what medical experts say
Now that you have asbestosis, you may find yourself suffering from illnesses more often. You may need pulmonary rehabilitation and oxygen. You will need to make changes in your life that help you keep from having difficulties breathing since shortness of breath is a primary symptom of this condition. Hospitalization is not out of the realm of possibility at some point if your condition worsens.
What you can do
Managing your symptoms will more than likely become a priority in your life. You can be proactive about arresting your condition where it is today, at least in the short term. Consider making the following changes:
- Make sure you take frequent rest breaks during the day and get adequate sleep at night. The body heals and recharges during sleep, and its importance cannot be stressed enough.
- Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- You need to limit your intake of salt and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as part of a well-balanced diet.
- Don't overexert yourself, but try to get in some exercise daily.
- If you live in an area where the pollution can be high, make sure you remain inside on days when it is bad.
- During allergy season, try to stay inside as much as possible, especially when the pollen count is high.
- In the winter, cover your mouth and nose with a scarf to keep from breathing in too much of the cold air.
- Avoid places where pollutants could interfere with your breathing. You will probably also need to stay away from people who smoke.
- Do what you can to limit your exposure to viruses and infections. Avoid large crowds, get vaccinated against flu and pneumonia, and wash your hands frequently.
Taking these steps could help keep your symptoms under control. You will also need to continue seeing your doctor to monitor your condition. If your symptoms worsen, you may want to get to the doctor immediately. You can still have a good life even with asbestosis, especially if doctors catch it early enough for medical intervention and for you to make changes such as those listed above.