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Asbestosis – Causes and Symptoms of Asbestosis

Asbestosis is an inflammatory condition of lungs that causes shortness of breath, coughing and slow scarring of the lungs. Asbestos is one of the components of silica and this disease occurs as a result of getting exposed to asbestos and hence this disease is called asbestosis. This is a disease of the lining of the lungs and the symptoms appear after asbestos fibers have caused irreversible damage to the lungs. People who develop this disorder will be affected for the rest of their lives. Four out of every ten thousand Americans suffer from this disease and an average of 10,000 deaths happen in a year.

Causes of Asbestosis
The causes of asbestosis includes:

  • Asbestosis is caused by breathing in tiny asbestos fibers.
  • When these tiny components are inhaled into the lungs these components cannot be removed or destroyed by the body.
  • They remain in the lung tissue and this causes chronic inflammation and irritation.
  • This irritation develops scar tissue and it replaces the healthy lung tissue.
  • The scar tissue that is formed cannot expand and contract, that leads to symptoms of asbestosis.

Other factors
There are other factors that can cause asbestosis. Those people who are exposed to high concentrations of this component called asbestos for long period of time include:

  • People working in the mining, milling, installation, manufacturing or removal of asbestos.
  • The occurrence of this lung disease is at least 10 years after the person’s first exposure to asbestos.

Symptoms
Signs and symptoms develop when scarring and damage is caused by the asbestos fibers and this damage results in stiffness to the lung tissue and lungs slowly loses its expansion and contracting function. Some of the symptoms of asbestosis include:

  • Decreased tolerance for physical activity
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath on exertion
  • Coughing
  • Clubbing of fingers
  • Painful breathing

When to consult a doctor?

If you are exposed to asbestos and if you are experiencing shortness of breath, consult your doctor as soon as possible to relieve your symptoms. Your condition may improve with proper treatment but if you delay in consulting your doctor, your condition may worsen and can lead to death. The main goal is to remove the asbestos products under the help of a medical professional.

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