If you work in an industry where you may be exposed to asbestos, then you should be aware of the symptoms and signs of asbestosis. Asbestosis is a disease of the lungs that develops when fibrous asbestos scars the lungs.
Asbestosis generally originates from workplace exposure to asbestos. However, it can come from any exposure to asbestos in its fibrous form. The disease generally takes years to develop.
By the time people recognize that they have the disease, it may have progressed significantly. The disease is life-threatening, and the number of asbestos-related deaths is expected to exceed 200,000 deaths per year by 2030.
What are some symptoms of asbestosis?
Some symptoms of asbestosis include:
- Chest pain
- Loss of appetite
- Nail deformities
- Clubbing of the fingers
- Tightness in the chest
- Persistent dry cough
- Shortness of breath
These symptoms are caused by the asbestos fibers, which embed into the lungs and cause scar tissue to form.
What are the risks of developing asbestosis?
Exposure to asbestos fibers is the main cause of this disease. If you have been exposed in the past, it is a good idea to have regular exams to look for asbestosis and other lung-related diseases caused by asbestos. You are at a higher risk of developing the disease if you worked in an industry with asbestos exposure prior to the federal laws that regulated exposure.
Asbestos is still used today in some industries, but your likelihood of exposure there is limited due to current federal regulations monitored by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). If you develop the disease or symptoms, no matter how much exposure you’ve faced, you need to seek medical attention.