Asbestosis Symptoms in Lungs

Asbestosis is known as a form of pulmonary fibrosis which is caused by the exposure to asbestos typified by the excess connective tissue in the lungs. Since the disease manifests in the lungs, common asbestosis symptoms include respiratory ailments such as swelling in the neck or face, coughing, difficulty swallowing, or some cracking sound when breathing.

Usually fibrosis occurs because of the lungs reaction to and repairing damage to lung tissue over long period of time, such as the continuous exposure to asbestos or asbestos-contained products. This reparative scar tissue will replace normal lung tissue, and the excess amount of scar tissue can trigger pulmonary function.

More about Asbestosis Symptoms

During the exposure, asbestos fibers are inhaled, and they can become lodged in lung tissue. The straight, sharp shape of the fibers makes them even more difficult for a body to expel and dislodge. Once it gets ingested in the body for a long period, the fibers can cause inflammation, irritation, and scarring, which trigger symptoms which mainly affect the lungs.

In most patients that are diagnosed with asbestosis, the symptoms develop in twenty to thirty years after the first exposure to asbestos. When someone is exposed to asbestos for long period of time, one decade or even more, the dormancy period of the symptom development is shorter, closer to twenty years.

Even though the severity and the frequency of symptoms can vary among patients at time of diagnosis, the most common asbestosis symptoms cover difficulty swallowing, swelling in the neck or face, high blood pressure, cracking sound when breathing, blood in sputum, short of breath, finger deformity, hyper tension, and loss of appetite or weight. Many of these symptoms can also be linked to pleural mesothelioma, which is the most common type of mesothelioma. Other conditions which can exhibit the symptoms that are associated with asbestos include pneumonia and lung cancer.

What Causes Symptoms of Asbestosis?

Lung scarring, or fibrosis, is the direct cause for the coughing and shortness of breath symptoms most commonly associated with asbestosis. As the lungs become inflamed and scarred over time, their ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide will decrease, which results in a reduction of lung function and various subsequent fatigue in patients. In the later stages of asbestosis, the amount of stress which is placed on the lungs and heart from lacking proper oxygen can lead to serious lung and/or heart failure.

The shortness of breath occurs because of pleural thickening, which is the thickening of lining of the lungs, mainly caused by the extensive presence of asbestos fibers, or pleural effusion, which is the buildup of fluid between the chest wall and the lungs. Effusions can be triggered by various conditions (pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and lupus) and can stem from the inflammation of the lungs. The thickening and effusions constrict movement of lungs and finally the heart. At that particular point, neither organ expands or contracts properly, which results in the shortness of breath and even more fluid buildup.

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