Asbestos exposure has been linked with many life threatening diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. While most of these diagnosed cases are severe, recent medical advances have allowed asbestos exposure victims a better chance at survival and an ever-increasing quality of life. Depending on severity of the symptoms and how quickly treatment is begun, asbestosis may have little impact on a person's lifestyle if preventative measures are not taken however the impact becomes much more pronounced, even potentially resulting in death.
How people acquire asbestosis
Asbestosis is most common among previous workers of asbestos-heavy industries, such as construction, shipyards, and manufacturing. While occupational asbestosis is the most common, anyone who was previous exposed to asbestos through their home, apartment, or second hand exposure to a worker of an asbestos-heavy industry might have been affected. Asbestosis is the result of the inhalation of asbestos fibres, which are the carcinogenic particles which make asbestos so dangerous. Upon inhalation of the asbestos fibres, scar tissue forms around the damage caused by the sensitive lung tissues contact with the rough asbestos fibre, damaging the cellular integrity.
How are people diagnosed with asbestosis?
Asbestosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are shared with many other illnesses, such as pneumoconiosis, interstitial fibrosis, and others. If you have received an asbestosis diagnosis it is advised that you seek a second opinion before taking action upon the diagnosis.
The typical diagnosis for asbestosis involves an intensive physical exam from a medical professional, preferably one who has experience with asbestos related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. The exam will include breathing tests to determine the lungs capacity and gauge any damage, as well as x-rays which are used to view the severity of any scarring that might be present in and around the lungs. Asbestosis is less malignant than some of the other diseases caused by asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma whose mortality rate is nearly 100%, however asbestosis can develop into more serious cases. Consult an experienced doctor with asbestos experience for the best recommendations on treatment.
The future of asbestosis
Mesothelioma and asbestosis cases are expected to continue throughout the next two decades, reaching a peak in the coming years as more workers who worked in dangerous asbestos conditions reach retirement age. Neither mesothelioma nor asbestosis manifest quickly but can remain dormant for dozens of years before afflicting individuals. This makes diagnosis even more difficult, however earlier screenings are becoming available in the attempt to increase detection and treatment. The life expectancy and quality of life for individuals with asbestosis is expected to become better in the future, however there are currently no cures. Asbestosis is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. Intensive therapy and other expensive medical costs are necessary for proper treatment however gaining knowledge about it is the first step.