Are you constantly exposed to asbestos fibers? Exercise caution as it may very well lead to asbestosis. Asbestosis can be very deceptive as it develops years after exposure to the asbestos fibers. Asbestosis is a lung condition, referred to as "diffused pulmonary fibroses". Asbestosis could range in severity from mild asbestosis to severe asbestosis. While mild asbestosis hardly results in any impairment, severe asbestosis could prove to be fatal. The asbestos worker who smokes is very susceptible to lung cancer. The risk of asbestosis will be reduced if the asbestos fiber in your working environment is reduced. Wear appropriate masks and gears if you seek to remodel an old house. Note that asbestos fibers are difficult to destroy, as they are too long and resistant to breakdowns.
Reasons for Asbestosis
If you are directly involved in the mining or processing of minerals, you are more vulnerable to asbestosis. You also risk asbestosis if you are involved in the production of items containing asbestos. If you are an asbestos worker, change your clothing before going home. Remember that your family members may contact asbestosis by inhaling the asbestos fibers in your clothing. Building materials that contain asbestos could also cause a lot of concern. In case, insulation materials or ceiling tiles start to decompose, asbestos fibers may become airborne and may pose a serious risk to your health. Contaminated food or liquids could cause asbestosis. Erosion or natural deposits or corrosion could also cause asbestosis from asbestos-cement pipes.
Headache, irritability, syncope and bounding pulse are also symptoms of anemia. Observable signs of anemia are: tachycardia, mild peripheral edema, ejection systolic murmur and venous hums. Angina pectoris among old people is a clear sign of anemia. Females tend to develop abnormal menstruation and amenorrhea if anemia affects them whereas males develop impotence and decrease in libido. Anemia could either be the result of an inherited disorder or it could result due to your environment, such as infection or exposure to a toxin or a drug.
Symptoms of Asbestosis (Diagnosing Asbestosis)
Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, referred to as dyspnea. Note that dyspnea appears first only upon exertion and subsequently occurs at rest. It seldom occurs before a decade of exposure. Persistent and productive cough could also be a symptom of asbestosis. The troublesome dry cough may sometimes end up in chest pain. Other symptoms include chest pain, chest tightness, fitful sleep, ill feeling and appetite loss. Inability to engage in physical activity is also a symptom of asbestosis. You may note that the symptoms of asbestosis are similar to that of asthma. But, the effects of asbestosis are insidious, occurring over months and years.
Beware of pulmonary function deficiencies that could result in asbestosis. Pulmonary function tests could reveal a restrictive lung disease. Advanced symptoms of asbestosis could include clubbing of the fingers or cor pulmonale. Note that people with asbestosis have a higher risk of developing a malignancy. Lung function tests could be carried out to diagnose asbestosis. Lung function tests detect scarring of lungs or a reduction in the amount of air that is breathed in and out. CT scans or chest x-rays could also help in diagnosing asbestosis.
Doctors diagnose asbestosis through basal crackles or rales. Irregular opacities in x-rays could also indicate problems. Asbestosis obscures normal lung vasculature and is first seen in the lower lateral lobes in between the rib shadows. It reduces lung volumes and capacities. Note that asbestosis has no specific symptoms. It is a chronic progressive disease, implying that once the symptoms start they do not get better.
Treatment of Asbestosis
There is no cure yet for asbestosis. Treatment of asbestosis involves preventing further complications of the disease and treating its' symptoms. The speed with which the condition progresses depend on factors such as: how much as asbestos has breathed in, if the disease has occurred soon after exposure, if there are other symptoms such as clubbing and if the patient smokes. The most reliable treatment for asbestosis is oxygen therapy as it increases the flow of oxygen into the body and counteracts the effect of breathlessness. Symptoms are relieved by the use of corticosteriods and immunosuppressive drugs. A procedure called thoracentesis is used to make the breathing easier. Though not extensively used, lung transplantation has achieved occasional success in treating asbestosis. Aggressive smoking could act detrimental in treating asbestosis. Flu and pneumococcal vaccinations are essential to treat asbestosis as it prevents chest infections.
Respiratory therapies such as bronchial drainage or the use of ultrasonic mist humidifier could help in clearing secretions from the lungs. Large crowds should be avoided as they may cause respiratory infections. Patients should also undergo regular chest x-rays to detect cancer associated with chest infections. Patients may experience shortness of breath if the disease becomes more pronounced. Shortness of breath could prove detrimental to regular activities and the patient may need oxygen.
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