When you think about asbestos, the first illness that comes to mind may be mesothelioma. Interestingly, there are several different conditions that may develop due to exposure to asbestos, and mesothelioma is not the only one.
Asbestosis is another illness that you should monitor yourself for if you’ve been exposed to asbestos in the past. Asbestosis is a lung disease that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. The fibers damage the lung tissue over time, and this leads to scarring. This scarring, known as fibrosis, makes it hard to breathe.
Asbestosis develops over time, so know the symptoms
As you may be aware, asbestosis does develop over time. You will need to look out for the symptoms of this disease so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible.
Asbestosis most often has the following symptoms:
- Clubbed fingers
- Pain and tightness in the chest
- A persistent, spasmodic cough
- Shortness of breath with exertion
- Weight loss from a lack of appetite
In the majority of cases, asbestosis can only be prevented if you avoid exposure to asbestos. This means wearing a protective mask each and every time you’re around asbestos. Failing to do this could lead to the inhalation of fibers that may damage the lungs.
Is there a cure for asbestosis?
There is no cure for asbestosis in your own lungs since the lungs are being scarred. Once the lungs are scarred, it’s difficult for them to heal.
However, there are medications that may help. For example, bronchodilators, which are often used by people with asthma, may reduce swelling and smooth the muscles in the airway. Mucolytics may also help because they can make it easier to cough mucus out of the airways.
A lung transplant could be a solution for severe cases
In severe cases, a lung transplant may help patients with asbestosis. A lung transplant may be partial or complete and requires healthy lungs from a donor. It’s more likely to go through therapies, such as oxygen therapy or pulmonary rehabilitation, to help the lungs function better while dealing with this chronic condition.