What is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a respiratory disease caused by exposure to and inhalation of asbestos fibers. Also called Idiopathic interstitial pneumonitis, asbestosis affects the parenchymal tissue of the lungs, and is characterized by symptoms such as dyspnea, or shortness of breath, and an increased risk in developing different types of lung cancer. In fact, mesothelioma is a complication that can arise in patients with asbestosis.

While mesothelioma and asbestosis were often thought to be interchangeable terms defining the same cancer, it is important to note that the two ailments are very different. Mesothelioma is a malignant form of cancer affecting the mesothelial linings in the body. Asbestosis, on the other hand, is the non cancerous scarring of the lung tissue.

The primary symptom of asbestosis is the gradual onset of dyspnea with physical exertion. When asbestos fibers are inhaled and reach the air sacs in the lungs where oxygen is transferred to blood, or alveoli, the asbestos particles cause the body’s immune system to attempt to expel the fibers by producing an inflammatory response. As the body attempts to repel the foreign particles, a fibrous mass is formed resulting in interstitial fibrosis. As the fibrotic scar tissue thickens the alveolar walls, the lungs lose their ability to function and remove carbon dioxide. As the disease advances, respiratory failure may occur as the disease causes the lungs to lose their elasticity and ability to expand and contract. Additionally in very severe cases of asbestosis the total lung capacity is reduced and the lungs become stiff, leading to eventual heart failure. More than 50% of patients affected with asbestosis develop plaques in the space between the chest wall and lungs, and patients may also notice clubbing of the fingers as asbestosis worsens. Coughing is not typically associated with asbestosis, but may indicate other serious respiratory illnesses.

Those who have worked with asbestos fibers, or were exposed to asbestos through other methods are at the highest risk of developing asbestosis or other asbestos related illnesses. While prolonged exposure to asbestos obviously increases the risk of developing a chronic illness, there have been reports of people working with asbestos for as short as one month and still developing asbestos-related disease. Most cases of asbestosis do not emerge until 5-10 years after exposure occurs.

First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Telephone:
Address:
City:
State:
Zipcode:
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with Mesothelioma?
Yes No
News:
Thank you for visiting this website which is created for the benefit of the general public. This website and its content are produced and sponsored by the law firm of James F. Early, LLC (James F. Early, Esq.). All of the information is intended as a resource available at no cost to people diagnosed with mesothelioma and their loved ones. Nonetheless, it may be considered attorney advertising. The content contained herein was not prepared by medical professionals and it is not intended, nor should it be considered, as a substitute for medical advice. The information provided on this website is intended as educational material, designed solely to support, and not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her healthcare professional. Additionally, neither visiting this website nor viewing its content is intended, and shall not be considered, to create an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship can only be created by mutual agreement and consent of the prospective client and the attorney. Neither the transmission nor receipt of this website material creates an attorney-client relationship between sender and receiver. The material contained herein is general in nature and may not apply to your particular factual or legal circumstances. Online readers should not act on this information without seeking professional counsel and advice. All information on this website is provided as a resource for the convenience and benefit of visitors to this website and their families. No affiliation with or endorsement of: (1) this website by the persons, facilities or organizations listed herein; OR (2) such persons, facilities or organizations by this website, is intended, nor should it be inferred. In all cases and without exception, such visitors and their families, for their own particular situation, must perform their own investigation of the suitability and appropriateness of any such person, facility or organization. Please read our disclaimer for more information.