Asbestos is a group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers. Because these fibers are resistant to heat, fire, and chemicals and do not conduct electricity, asbestos has been mined and used widely in the construction, automotive, and other industries. Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos exposure typified by excess connective tissue in the lungs. Because the disease manifests in the lungs, common asbestosis symptoms include respiratory problems such as coughing, swelling in the neck or face, cracking sound when breathing, or difficulty swallowing.
A complete medical evaluation is needed before a proper asbestosis diagnosis can be made. This includes reviewing potential asbestos exposure, work history, symptoms and undergoing various tests and imaging scans that can detect lung abnormalities. Pulmonary function tests can be used to assess a patient's ability to inhale and exhale, and a computed tomography scan of the lungs can show flat, raised patches associated with advanced asbestosis.
Asbestos was banned in Spain in 2002.Observing that more than 2.5 million metric tons of asbestos were imported into Spain from 1906 to 2002, researchers say deaths from mesothelioma have risen steadily. Between 1976 and 1980, a total of 491 Spanish people died of mesothelioma. By the 5-year period from 2006 to 2010, that number had more than doubled to 1,249.