Asbestosis Explained

Asbestosis Explained

Asbestosis is the name given to a lung disease caused by long term exposure to asbestos. It is a chronic inflammatory disease, and is most often seen as harsh shortness of breath. 


The disease itself is usually seen in people who are exposed to high levels of asbestos as a consequence of their occupations – people who mine, manufacturer products, manager or remove asbestos are most at risk of asbestosis.


The main symptom of asbestosis is shortness of breath, especially after periods of exertion. This effect may appear slowly and with little impact at first, but can little by little become more harsh over time and already rule, in progressive situations of the disease, to an acute form in which respiratory or heart failure is possible. Clinically, those with asbestosis have a characteristic ‘crackling’ noise when drawing breath and ‘clubbing’ or thickening of the fingers. Signs often do not begin to appear until 5 years or more after the initial exposure to the material. 


The shortness of breath is caused by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue, which reduces the area obtainable for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide needed for efficient breathing. It begins when tiny asbestos strands are breathed in and lodge thorough inside the lungs.  The natural defence mechanisms then try to destroy this foreign body, and this response causes inflammation around the asbestos strand. Because asbestos is extremely resistant to being broken down by the body the inflammatory reaction may be chronic. As time goes on the ingested fibres are covered in new fibrous tissue which is not as flexible and is thicker than usual, making gas exchanging more difficult and resulting in the decreased efficiency of the lungs. This fibrous tissue slowly increases in size as the body continues to fight the inhaled asbestos. The more fibres that have been inhaled, the higher is the possible for lung damage.


The treatment of asbestosis relies on managing its effects instead of curing it. Oxygen treatment is often given to relieve the shortness of breath, and nebulizers like those given to allergy and asthma sufferers can also help.  


To help prevent future generations suffer from this terminal condition don’t take any risks when dealing with asbestos contact a specialized asbestos removal company if you need any asbestos removing from your character.

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