BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuAsbestosisPulmonary fibrosis - from asbestos exposure; Interstitial pneumonitis - from asbestos exposureAsbestosis is a lung disease that occurs from breathing in asbestos fibers. Causes Breathing in asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue (fibrosis) to form inside the lung. Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contract normally.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:Pleural plaques (calcification) Malignant mesothelioma (cancer of the pleura, the lining of the lung), which can develop 20 to 40 years after exposure Malignant mesotheliomaMalignant mesothelioma is an uncommon cancerous tumor. It mainly affects the lining of the lung and chest cavity (pleura) or lining of the abdomen (...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pleural effusion, which is a collection that develops around the lung a few years after asbestos exposure and is benign Pleural effusionA pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Lung cancer Workers today are less likely to get asbestos-related diseases because of government regulations.Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. Symptoms Symptoms may include any of the following:Chest pain Chest painChest pain is discomfort or pain that you feel anywhere along the front of your body between your neck and upper abdomen.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Cough Shortness of breath with activity (slowly gets worse over time) Shortness of breathBreathing difficulty may involve:Difficult breathing Uncomfortable breathingFeeling like you are not getting enough airImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Tightness in the chest Possible other symptoms include:Clubbing of fingers ClubbingClubbing is changes in the areas under and around the toenails and fingernails that occur with some disorders. The nails also show changes.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Nail abnormalitiesNail abnormalitiesNail abnormalities are problems with the color, shape, texture, or thickness of the fingernails or toenails.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the symptoms. When listening to the chest with a stethoscope, the provider may hear crackling sounds called rales.These tests may help diagnose the disease:Chest x-ray Chest x-rayA chest x-ray is an x-ray of the chest, lungs, heart, large arteries, ribs, and diaphragm.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article CT scan of the lungs CT scan of the lungsA chest CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging method that uses x-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the chest and upper abdomen....ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Lung function testsLung function testsPulmonary function tests are a group of tests that measure breathing and how well the lungs are functioning.ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Pleural plaques in the chest x-ray or CT scan can help diagnose asbestosis and differentiate from other forms of pulmonary fibrosis. Treatment There is no cure. Stopping exposure to asbestos is essential. To ease symptoms, drainage and chest percussion can help remove fluids from the lungs.PercussionPercussion is a method of tapping body parts with fingers, hands, or small instruments as part of a physical examination. It is done to determine:Th...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article The doctor may prescribe aerosol medicines to thin lung fluids. People with this condition may need to receive oxygen by mask or by a plastic piece that fits into the nostrils. Certain people may need a lung transplant. Support Groups You can ease the stress of this illness by joining a lung support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.Lung support groupThe following organizations are good resources for information on lung disease:American Lung Association -- www. lung. orgNational Heart, Lung, and B...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article More information and support for people with asbestosis and their families can be found at:American Lung Association -- www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asbestosis The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization -- www.asbestosdiseaseawareness.org/ United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration -- www.osha.gov/asbestos Outlook (Prognosis) Outcome depends on the amount of asbestos you were exposed to and how long you were exposed.People who develop malignant mesothelioma tend to have a poor outcome. When to Contact a Medical Professional Call your provider if you suspect that you have been exposed to asbestos and you have breathing problems. Having asbestosis makes it easier for you to develop lung infections. Talk to your provider about getting the flu and pneumonia vaccines.If you've been diagnosed with asbestosis, call your provider right away if you develop a cough, shortness of breath, fever, or other signs of a lung infection, especially if you think you have the flu. Since your lungs are already damaged, it's very important to have the infection treated right away. This will prevent breathing problems from becoming severe, as well as further damage to your lungs. Prevention In people who have been exposed to asbestos for more than 10 years, screening with a chest x-ray every 3 to 5 years may detect asbestos-related diseases early. Stopping cigarette smoking can greatly reduce the risk of asbestos-related lung cancer.Open ReferencesReferencesGo LHT, Cohen RA. Pneumoconioses. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 101.Tarlo SM. Occupational lung disease. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 87.AllVideoImagesTogRespiratory system - illustration Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.Respiratory systemillustrationRespiratory system - illustration Air is breathed in through the nasal passageways, travels through the trachea and bronchi to the lungs.Respiratory systemillustrationRelated Information Respiratory(Special Topic)Malignant mesothelioma(Condition)Pleural effusion(Condition)Interstitial lung disease - adults - discharge(Discharge) Review Date: 5/30/2021 Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- © 1997- All rights reserved. A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.Content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.