Mesothelioma Attorneys

Asbestosis Symptoms and Diagnosis

Asbestos Cancer Attorney

Asbestosis is progressive scarring of the lungs, caused by asbestos exposure. In most cases, the symptoms do not appear until 20 to 50 years after the exposure occurred. When the symptoms appear, victims and their doctors often mistake them for the symptoms of a less serious illness, delaying treatment. There is no cure for asbestosis, but treatment can improve your quality of life and extend your life.

Asbestosis Symptoms

Early symptoms of asbestosis are usually mild and some people may not notice any early symptoms at all. By the time medical care is sought, the damage to the lungs is usually significant. Asbestosis is progressive, and over time the symptoms get worse. Early symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath during or after physical activity
  • Dry cough

As the disease progresses symptoms can include:

  • Shortness of breath when at rest
  • Shortness of breath when lying down
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent cough
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Hoarseness
  • Frequent respiratory illness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry, crackling sound in the lungs
  • Swelling of the hands, feet, and ankles
  • Finger clubbing

Asbestosis Diagnosis

The first step in asbestosis diagnosis is a physical exam, during which your doctor will listen to your lungs for crackling sounds while you breathe. Other tests your doctor will use to diagnose asbestosis include:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Lung function test
  • CT scan
  • Biopsy

It is important that you talk to your doctor about your history of asbestos exposure, so he will know to look for asbestosis. Because the symptoms can mimic other conditions, asbestosis is often misdiagnosed as:

  • Asthma
  • Smoker’s cough
  • Common cold

Asbestosis is a type of pulmonary fibrosis. If you have a history of asbestos exposure and you are diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, it may be asbestosis. If your doctor says your pulmonary fibrosis may or may not be caused by asbestos exposure, talk about getting further testing or see another doctor.

An accurate asbestosis diagnosis is important to preserve your legal rights and is an indication that mesothelioma screening is appropriate. Early detection of mesothelioma can give you the opportunity to undergo treatments which can save your life.