Respiratory Asbestosis

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Disorders of the Human Body Systems

Respiratory
Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a serious, long-term lung disease that develops in people who have inhaled asbestos dust. Asbestos is a useful material made of 6 different fibrous minerals, but when inhaled they microscopic asbestos fibers settle in the lungs, where they may cause permanent lung damage as well as chronic breathing symptoms.

If you are exposed to high levels of asbestos dust over a long period of time, the airborne fibers can become lodged into your alveoli, which irritate and cause lungs to develop scar tissue, interfering with its ability to deliver oxygen to your blood.

Throughout most of the 20th century, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos. The greatest risk for contracting diseases like asbestosis has fallen upon those in the asbestos mining and milling trades. Also, individuals who are firefighters, automobile workers, and work with drywall are at high risk. Asbestos is also found in building material in many older homes.

Reducing the level of exposure to asbestos is the best prevention against asbestosis. In the United States and Canada, federal law requires employers in industries that work with asbestos products to monitor exposure levels, create regulated areas for asbestos work, and provide their employees with appropriate training and protective gear.

The effects of long-term exposure to asbestos typically don’t show up for about 20-30 years after initial exposure. If you have asbestosis, some signs and symptoms you may have can include, shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain, dry, crackling sound in lungs while inhaling and loss of appetite.

Due to the accumulating damage caused by asbestosis fibers, asbestosis may be treated, but not cured. To manage the uncomfortable symptoms of asbestosis and improve quality of life, there are treatments such as a humidifier, oxygen therapy, and chest percussion may be recommended to relieve...
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