Asbestosis is a respiratory disease that afflicts those who have been exposed to the mineral compound asbestos during their lifetime. This disease has been the basis for many asbestos-related lawsuits throughout the U.S. Dating back to 1918, asbestos has been linked with multiple lung cancers and diseases with asbestosis ranking as one of the most common consequences of long-term asbestos exposure.
Asbestosis is directly related to inhaling asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a mineral compound used for insulation and fire prevention. Those with the disease have developed significant scar tissue throughout the lung making it difficult to reach full capacity while breathing. Symptoms of asbestosis include chest pain, cough, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. Workers within the shipbuilding, milling, construction, fireproofing and mining industries are especially at-risk for developing asbestosis or other asbestos-related diseases like pleural plaques, mesothelioma and pleural effusion.
For patients afflicted with any of the above symptoms, it is imperative to cease asbestos exposure and seek medical attention immediately. While there is no cure for asbestosis, the best course of treatment is to avoid contact with asbestos as soon as possible. Doctors will perform chest x-rays, CT scans of the lungs, a Gallium lung scan and pulmonary function tests. In addition, doctors can ease symptoms by draining the lung cavities and can release build-up with chest percussion and vibration techniques.
Many suffering from asbestosis are forced to wear oxygen masks as they undergo aerosol treatments to thin the pulmonary lining. In very rare cases, asbestosis patients are required to endure a lung transplant.
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