Exposure to asbestos can result in a health condition known as asbestosis, a lung disease caused by scarring from asbestos fibers that get lodged in the lungs. This scarring makes it more difficult for victims to breathe, and can interfere with oxygen passing through your body into your bloodstream. Other common names include pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial pneumonitis.
Today, most asbestosis cases stem from workplace exposure to asbestos in the years before federal laws regulated the use of asbestos (regulations became prominent in the mid-1970s). However, there are still many older buildings that have asbestos in them, and when that asbestos gets disturbed during construction or rehab projects—which is not uncommon when preliminary asbestos testing in Erie County, NY has been neglected—there’s a chance that workers and other people in the building could be exposed to the material.
Common symptoms of asbestos exposure include shortness of breath, chest tightness, dry coughs, pains in the chest, loss of appetite, fingernail deformities and enlarged fingertips.
>How does asbestosis get diagnosed?
Doctors perform several tests for asbestosis. The first step is for the doctor to use a stethoscope and listen for abnormal breathing sounds. Doctors can also use x-rays to look for honeycomb or white appearances on the chest and lungs. Some lung function tests might be ordered to measure how much air you can breathe in at once, and how well the air flows to and from your lungs, as well as how well the oxygen gets transferred from the lungs to the bloodstream.
In addition, doctors frequently use CT scans to examine the lungs in greater detail. Your doctor might also order a biopsy to attempt to uncover asbestos fibers taken from lung tissue samples.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for asbestosis. However, the condition can be managed in some ways to help keep symptoms under control.
Prescription inhalers are frequently used to loosen congestion and make it easier for people suffering from the condition to breathe. In addition, supplemental oxygen from masks or tubes that run into your nose can also help in particularly severe cases of restricted breathing.
The biggest concern is preventing the disease from worsening. There are some behavioral treatments people with asbestosis can perform to ensure they better manage their condition. For example, anyone with asbestosis should avoid any further exposure to asbestos, and if they are smokers, they should quit as soon as possible to prevent worsening lung damage.
A failure to manage the condition or particularly severe cases of asbestosis can lead to malignant mesothelioma, a very severe form of lung cancer. Additional forms of lung cancer could develop if you do not quit smoking. There is also chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, another type of condition that could result from asbestosis. The primary factors influencing the long-term outlook of the condition depend on how long you were exposed to the material and how much you inhaled.
For more information about asbestosis and managing the condition, contact Ahold of Mold Environmental to arrange a consultation with a provider of asbestos testing in Erie County, NY.
Categorised in: Asbestos