A condition featuring scarring of the lungs caused by inhaled asbestos fibers. Asbestosis is irreversible. It can also lead to lung cancer or to mesothelioma, a cancer of the lining on the surface of the lung. Symptoms of advanced asbestosis include chest pain, hoarseness, and restless sleep. Patients who have asbestosis often have clubbed (widened and thickened) fingers. Other potential complications include heart failure, collapsed lung, and pleurisy i.e., inflammation of the membrane that protects the lung.
An oncologist or pulmonologist are also more familiar with the criteria for confirming a diagnosis of asbestosis and ruling out other asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma or lung cancer. Before asbestosis can be considered as a probable cause of symptoms, several indicators must be present, including a history of asbestos exposure, a latency period between the exposure and the onset of symptoms, evidence of structural changes to the lungs and evidence of cause.
Treatments focus on a patient's ability to breathe. Caused by an inhalation of asbestos fibers, asbestosis is a lung disease that, over time, creates labored and painful breathing. Lung tissues that are scarred from embedded fibers impede the natural breathing process. Doctors often prescribe inhalers and medications like bronchodilators, aspirin and antibiotics to help those diagnosed with asbestosis. Statistics of mesothelioma mortality have been recorded in Japan since 1995, and the numbers started climbing in 2000 when 710 deaths were documented. By 2009, the number had risen to 1,156.