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Asbestosis
Pathology
Type

Inflammatory

Cause(s)

Exposure to airborne asbestos

Symptoms

Shortness of breath, particularly after exertion, restricted lung volume

Mortality Rate

Inevitably fatal

Treatments

Oxygen therapy

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Asbestosis is a disease of occupational exposure that affected asbestos miners and those who worked with friable (airborne) asbestos products such as insulation over long periods of time. Exposure to the mineral causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs which eventually leads to loss of lung function and death.

The disease cannot be reversed once it is established and treatment focuses on supportive care. Patients are encouraged to stop smoking as the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure causes more damage combined than either does alone. Sufferers are routinely vaccinated against diseases that affect the lungs, such as influenza. Oxygen therapy can be helpful.

Asbestosis resembles many other lung diseases that cause scarring, so a complete medical history is crucial when establishing a definitive diagnosis.

See also mesothelioma, a cancer related to asbestos exposure.

Asbestosis at Wikipedia