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.The main symptom of asbestosis is shortness of breath. Other symptoms may include: Persistent cough that produces mucus, Chest tightness, Chest pain.
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. Mesothelioma is the second-most diagnosed cancer caused by asbestos. It affects about 3,000 people in the U.S. each year and it is almost exclusively caused by the naturally occurring mineral.