Mesothelioma Attorneys

Asbestosis

Asbestos Cancer

Asbestosis is scarring of the lungs caused by asbestos exposure. Although it is not a form of cancer, it is a progressive lung disease which is debilitating and ultimately fatal. There is no cure for asbestosis, but there are treatments which can extend your life and improve your quality of life. People with asbestosis often die of heart failure. Asbestosis is also a warning sign that you may be developing mesothelioma.

Asbestosis vs. Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

Asbestosis is pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos. Pulmonary fibrosis is scaring of the lung tissue. It can be caused by pollutants, medical conditions, medications, and other irritants to the lungs. Asbestosis is sometimes misdiagnosed as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Idiopathic means the cause cannot be identified.

If you have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and have a history of asbestos exposure, talk to your doctor about conclusive testing to determine if you have asbestosis. You may need to get a second opinion. Military veterans, especially those who served in the Navy, are among those who must press further when diagnosed with idiopathic asbestosis.

Understanding Asbestosis

Asbestosis is caused by asbestos fibers lodged in the lungs. It develops very slowly, and you may not experience symptoms of asbestosis until 20 years or more after asbestos exposure. The tiny, sharp fibers irritate the tissue, and eventually scar tissue is formed. This thickening and hardening of the tissue makes the lungs inflexible which makes it difficult to breath. It also interferes with the exchange of gases which occurs inside the lungs, not just your ability to move air in and out.

Asbestosis Can Kill You

Asbestosis is progressive. More scar tissue if formed over time, making it more and more difficult to breath. People with asbestosis may die of lung failure or heart failure. When the lungs cannot produce enough oxygen for the body, the heart works harder to pump more blood through the lungs in an effort to collect more oxygen and distribute it. This takes a tremendous toll on the heart, eventually leading to heart failure.

Asbestosis Treatment

There is no cure for asbestosis. Treatment focuses on stopping the progression of the disease, preventing or treating secondary conditions, and relieving the symptoms. Some patients can benefit from lung transplantation.