asbestosis is a condition where the healthy lining of the lungs is affected by foreign bodies in the form of asbestos fibers. Asbestos fibers are rare pollutants that were found in high concentrations in certain work environments, like shipyard docks, car factories and construction sites where asbestos was a popular building material, several decades ago.
Back then, the risks of asbestos was not known and the material was used in a lot of industries. For example, asbestos paint was used to insulate pipes in ships and asbestos was also used in the assembly of a clutch plate. It was also heavily used in insulation material, as it was very resistant to heat.
But, manufacturers of asbestos in those days did not know that asbestos can release deadly microscopic fibers that can enter people’s lungs, when they are continuously exposed to it. They eventually found out that asbestos was a high-risk element and stopped using it in products and assembly lines. But, there are several people living today who worked in factories and shops where asbestos was extensively used, several decades ago.
It is estimated that about 200,000 people suffer from asbestosis today, the majority of which are those who were exposed to asbestos 20-30 years ago.
Asbestosis can be treated very well if detected very early. One of the major symptoms of asbestosis is the development of shortness of breath, sometimes coupled with heavy breathing. Patients suffering from asbestosis usually undergo oxygen therapy where low oxygen levels in their body as improved. Patients are also given medicines that will allow the collection of fluid in their lungs to lose their thickness, thereby allowing them to breathe better.
If asbestosis is left untreated, it can progress into mesothelioma, a deadly cancer that has a very high fatality rate, also with no cure.