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Asbestosis Symptoms Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Asbestosis symptoms are typical of the symptoms of many forms of respiratory illness, but unfortunately they indicate one of the most serious forms of lung illness you can get. If you have ever been exposed to asbestos, particularly for long periods of time, it’s important that you watch for any symptoms of respiratory illness since you can develop asbestosis decades after the initial exposure. The cause of asbestosis is very simple – repeated or prolonged exposure to asbestos.

Early Stage of Asbestosis

Asbestosis symptoms generally show up in three stages. In the earliest stage, many people assume that the mild symptoms are due to general illness, being overweight or simply being out of shape. This dangerous misconception can lead to further problems as time passes. Be alert for these early symptoms of asbestosis:

Asbestosis Symptoms
  • Shortness of breath after exertion or exercise. This is usually the first symptom and is often overlooked because asbestosis sufferers assume there is a more recent cause or is simply a sign that they are "out of shape."
  • Dry cough, especially a prolonged one that isn’t occurring at the same time as other obvious signs of illness. For instance, a dry cough with no apparent infection or fever.
  • Medical Guide to Asbestos, Asbestosis and Mesothelioma

  • General malaise or feeling drained and tired.
  • Wheezing can sometimes occur early on as well, especially if the individual is also a smoker.

Mid-Stage Asbestosis

Mid-stage asbestosis symptoms include all of the earlier symptoms, plus:

  • Shortness of breath is now more frequent, sometimes occurring even when the person is at rest.
  • Recurring chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest area. Some people feel like they “can’t catch their breath” or that they cannot fill their lungs.
  • Clubbed fingers or pitted, uneven fingernails – these symptoms of asbestosis are an indication that oxygen is no longer being exchanged efficiently in the bloodstream.
  • A positive asbestosis MRI showing damaged cross-sections of the lungs that have a honeycomb-like appearance.

Advanced Stage

Asbestosis symptoms during the most advanced stages of this illness can be profoundly frightening and may require hospitalization:

  • More severe chest pain, like something putting pressure on your chest.
  • Poor sleep and the need to sleep without being fully reclined so that breathing is easier.
  • Swelling of the hands, feet and ankles.
  • Coughing up blood or fluid from the lungs.
  • Recurring infections, particularly respiratory infections.

These symptoms of asbestosis are caused by permanent scarring of lung tissue, inhibiting the exchange of oxygen in the blood stream. You should never ignore these symptoms; if you do, they will only advance and cause more problems later on. If you have asbestosis symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Asbestosis life expectancy can be drastically reduced for most people because it usually leads to other lung illnesses such as lung cancer or mesothelioma that are often fatal.

Asbestosis and the Lung Transplant Option

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