Asbestosis – Why Asbestos Exposure Can Be So Crippling

Asbestosis – Why Asbestos Exposure Can Be So Crippling

Asbestos is one of those cruel dichotomies in the universe. It is a wonder material in that it is extremely fire resistant, but has the dire effect of causing a host of health problems. Asbestosis is one that isn’t discussed all that much, but it can truly be crippling.

If you asked anyone what health problem they would associate with asbestos, the answer would undoubtedly be cancer. Although few know that Mesothelioma is the name of the particularly dire cancer caused by asbestos exposure, they do know about all the lawsuits against asbestos manufacturers and that major health problems occurred. Asbestosis is not a form of cancer, but it is definitely a major health problem.

What is asbestosis? It is the inflammation and scarring of the lungs. This occurs when asbestos fibers are breathed in, but do not reach into the deep areas of the lungs. Instead, the fibers become embedded into the inner lining. This perforation of lung material causes scarring, but things get worse. The immune system reacts to the asbestos by trying to remove it. It is rarely successful, but inflammation is the side effect.

So, why is asbestosis so crippling? The symptoms tell use everything. Slowly and steadily, the victim loses the ability to breathe deeply. As time passes, they can only take smaller and smaller breaths. This means they are effectively restricted to a limited life. Any type of excitement can cause painful breathing episodes. Many can barely walk given the lack of oxygen they can consume. For all intensive purposes, they slowly start to suffocate.

Can asbestosis be cured through treatment? As with most asbestos caused illnesses, the sad answer is there is no cure. The best that can be done with asbestosis is to put the patient on an oxygen assisted breathing system to at least remove much of the stress of breathing in and out. While this helps, it further restricts the patient to a limited life.

Asbestos causes a host of cancers that are obviously nasty in every sense of the term. Asbestosis is not a cancer, but it is an equally miserable disease.

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