Free Mesothelioma Information Packet

Asbestosis FAQ

What is asbestosis?

asbestosis is an asbestos-related lung disease that causes scarring of the lung tissue.

How is asbestosis caused?

Asbestosis is caused by exposure to asbestos

What are the signs/symptoms of asbestosis?

The presence of asbestosis is characterized by dyspnea (shortness of breath), persistent dry cough, difficulty breathing, chest tightness, loss of appetite, and clubbing of the fingers (in severe cases).

What is the relation between asbestosis and mesothelioma?

Not everyone who has asbestosis will develop mesothelioma. However, anyone with asbestosis should be monitored closely for symptoms of mesothelioma. If you smoke and have asbestosis, you should cease smoking immediately as it will greatly increase your chances of developing mesothelioma.

What treatments, if any, are available for asbestosis?

Like mesothelioma, treatments for asbestosis treat the symptoms of the disease but do not offer a cure. Treatments might include drugs like steroids or bronchodilators to aid in breathing, procedures to drain fluid from the lungs, or medications for pain.

Where might I get asbestosis?

If you worked with asbestos on a regular basis or were exposed to someone who did, you may develop the disease. Those living near asbestos or vermiculite mines or near factories that manufactured asbestos products have also been known to develop the disease.

What steps can I take to prevent asbestosis?

If you currently work with asbestos, it is important to remove yourself from that situation. If damaged asbestos can be found in your home, have it removed by a licensed asbestos abatement company.

What types of people/professions are most at risk for asbestosis?

Those most at risk include shipbuilders, pipefitters, welders, plumbers, electricians, insulators, auto mechanics, railroad workers, power plant workers, contractors, refinery workers, miners, and those who worked in factories that produced asbestos-containing products.

How many people are affected by asbestosis?

In America, about 600 people die of asbestosis per year. Thousands more are affected. It's difficult to determine an exact number as cases are sometimes misdiagnosed.

Have there been any deaths due to asbestosis?

Yes, the U.S. averages between 550-600 recorded asbestosis deaths per year.

How is asbestosis different from mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a form of cancer and must be treated as such. Asbestosis is a scarring of the lungs but no tumors are present. People can live with asbestosis for decades without developing mesothelioma. Meso patients rarely survive beyond 2 years after diagnosis.

What is more dangerous?

Mesothelioma or asbestosis? Mesothelioma, an aggressive asbestos-caused cancer, is the more serious of the two diseases.

Is there a cure for asbestosis?

Not at this time.

Does anything besides asbestos exposure cause asbestosis?

There are no known causes of asbestosis other than asbestos exposure.

Can asbestos harm any other part of the body besides the lungs?

Yes, individuals may also develop asbestos diseases of the peritoneum (the lining of the abdomen) or the pericardium (the lining of the heart).

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Last modified: April 06, 2010.