Asbestosis is defined as diffuse pulmonary fibrosis caused by the inhalation of excessive amounts of asbestos fibers. Pathologically, both pulmonary fibrosis of a particular pattern and evidence of excess asbestos in the lungs must be present. Clinically, the disease usually progresses slowly, with a typical latent period of more than 20 years from first exposure to onset of symptoms. The respiratory tract is the most common site of asbestos exposure symptoms. Symptoms differ depending on the particular problem.
When diagnosing asbestosis, your General Practitioner will first ask about your symptoms and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope.If your lungs have been affected by asbestos, they will usually make a crackling noise when you breathe in. Your General Practitioner will also ask about your work history, particularly about periods when you may have been exposed to asbestos, how long you may have been exposed, and whether you were issued with any safety equipment, such as a face mask, when you were working.
Anyone who develops symptoms of asbestosis should see a family physician or lung disease specialist. A doctor should be notified if someone who has been diagnosed with asbestosis: has chest pain, develops a sudden fever of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, develops unfamiliar, unexplained symptoms.Exposure to asbestos is the most common cause of mesothelioma: more than 80% of men with mesothelioma were likely exposed to asbestos in the workplace.Workplace exposure to asbestos continues in Canada, primarily in the mining and construction sectors.