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The Causes of Asbestosis - Early Diagnosis May Prevent Cancer

The causes of asbestosis are actually quite limited. This lung disease is almost exclusively the result of exposure to asbestos fibers in some form for a prolonged length of time. How this exposure actually leads to permanent lung damage and disease, however, is another matter.

Asbestosis was diagnosed in the early days as a non-specific lung disease. At first, doctors didnt realize exactly what was causing the scarring and constriction of airways in patients. Autopsies, medical histories and a variety of lab tests soon determined that the causes of asbestosis were restricted to a common denominator asbestos exposure. From here, the disease was quickly named and the name of the disease demonstrated undeniably the link between the asbestos and the lung disease.

How the Causes Lead to the Symptoms

Asbestosis causing materials range from asbestos insulation to automotive brakes and comprise a list of literally hundreds of products. How does breathing dust from these products cause lung disease such as asbestosis? The asbestos in these products are actually extremely light, hair-like fibers that are similar to glass in consistency. These fibers are so light and delicate that they arent effectively filtered by the nose or the bronchial tubes (the usual first defense for the lungs).

Scarring of Lung Tissue

These asbestos fibers end up deep in the bodys lung tissue. The fibers end up embedded in the alveolus, where oxygen exchange takes place. Over time, the asbestos fibers cause tiny cuts in the alveoli tissue that leads to scarring. When scarred, the tissue can no longer promote oxygen exchange and the bloodstream doesnt get enough clean, oxygenated blood. The body and lungs have a defense system that would normally get rid of invaders such as asbestosis causing fibers; unfortunately, this system isnt efficient against asbestos fibers.

Breathing Difficulties

Over time patients who have been exposed to the causes of asbestosis develop shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. These asbestosis symptoms can contribute to more serious illnesses such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.

If youve been exposed to products that are proven causes of asbestosis you should see your doctor for a complete physical. Asbestosis is more easily treated the earlier you catch it. Early diagnosis is also central to the prevention of complications such as cancer and mesothelioma.

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