Asbestos is a dangerous substance. Inhaling the fibers can lead to a variety of serious health issues. One such disease is asbestosis.
This chronic lung condition is a result of breathing in asbestos over time. It does require extended exposure, but that can happen secondhand as well.
Asbestosis is when the lung tissue becomes scarred because of the fibers. It leads to shortness of breath and can be mild to severe. The disease may cause a dry cough, tightness in the chest and cracking sounds when breathing. It also can lead to clubbing of the toes and fingers.
Long-term asbestos exposure causes asbestosis. The fibers get into the tiny sacs in the lungs and irritate them. The lungs stiffen up, which makes them not work as well as they should. The stiffening of the lungs progresses over time leading to serious breathing issues.
Those at risk are anyone who worked with asbestosis on a continuous basis. Smokers usually have more severe cases of the disease. The amount of exposure often plays a role in how severe the condition is and the likelihood of developing it. Direct exposure is not mandatory, though, as fibers can attach to clothing, and a person can carry them home. So, if a spouse or someone in your household worked with asbestos, then you have an increased chance of getting asbestosis.
Asbestos-related diseases can be devastating. They rob you of your ability to breathe properly. All conditions also increase your chances of lung cancer, which can complicate the condition and lead to increased chances of death.