Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause lung fibrosis. Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contract as it normally should.
How severe the disease is depends on how long the person was exposed to asbestos and the amount that was breathed in and the type of fibers breathed in. Often, the symptoms aren’t noticed for 20 years or more after the asbestos exposure.
Asbestos fibers were commonly used in construction before 1975. Asbestos exposure occurred in asbestos mining and milling, construction, fireproofing, and other industries. Families of asbestos workers can also be exposed from particles brought home on the worker’s clothing.
Other asbestos-related diseases include:
The symptoms of asbestos-related lung disease may take years to show up. Symptoms may include any of the following:
Possible other symptoms include:
A Deborah Heart and Lung Center physician will perform a physical exam and ask about any symptoms. When listening to the chest with a stethoscope, the physician may hear crackling sounds called rales.
These tests may help diagnose the disease: