Asbestosis: respiratory distress due to asbestos
Asbestosis, the name says it all, is a disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos. The lungs become less elastic so that the patient may have difficulty breathing, the patient also has a greater chance of lung cancer. The therm Asbestos is a generic term for a number of naturally occurring minerals, which are made up of microscopic fibers.
Asbestosis is a disease of the lungs, which, the name says it all, is caused by exposure to asbestos. The disease is ranged under the heading of pneumoconioses, also known as ‘dust lung’. The affection is discovered around 1930. It’s a rare affection.
When large quantities of asbestos is inhaled, the body reacts to this with an inflammatory response, whereby connective tissue is produced in the lungs. Through this connective tissue, the lungs are getting less elastic and thus less air can be inhaled.
Asbestosis can develop in different ways, namely prolonged exposure to small amounts of asbestos, but also by a very brief exposure to a large amount of asbestos. Asbestosis is a recognized occupational disease, but you do not for example, construction work to do to get it, considering asbestos in former years in many different places has been processed.
The time between exposure to asbestos and the manifestation of symptoms is often between 10 and 20 years after exposure, but this time is dependent on the duration of exposure and the concentration of asbestos.
Anyone who suspects that they have been in contact with asbestos can do nothing until he or she receives complaints. That is the harsh truth behind the matter with the fibers enter the body and their destructive and sometimes deadly work does. Testing for the substance is not possible and if the asbestos once has invaded there is nothing to do about it.
Here are the symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- A dry and sore cough sometimes accompanied by stabbing in the chess
- Shortness of breath (this usually happens only when the patient is at least 10 years been exposed to asbestos)
- Heart failure (in an advanced stage of asbestosis)
Which diseases can be caused by inhaling asbestos dust? People who inhale asbestos dust can get diseases like:
- Asbestosis (also called dust lung)
- Asbestos pleurisy
- Peritoneal Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Mesothelioma (asbestos lung cancer)
- Pleural thickening
Diagnosis and therapy
The diagnosis can be made by means of an extensive investigation into the occupational history, living conditions and medical history of the patient. There follows an X-ray of the lungs, a test to determine how the lungs function and if necessary a lung lavage or lung biopsy.
Asbestosis is a progressive disease that does not heal. There is no treatment for patients with asbestosis, the only thing that can be done is treating the symptoms. Asbestosis usually leads to respiratory symptoms and in the worst cases to death because the heart becomes overloaded. The symptoms can be controlled by oxygen administration, nebulisers and medication to prevent heart failure. In some cases there is a possible lung transplant.
Asbestosis Patients have an increased risk of getting lung cancer. Therefore is it necessary to take a regular X-rays from the lungs, people with asbestosis is also advised to stop smoking. They are also eligible for a vaccination against flu and pneumonia.