Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Asbestosis Overview

What is asbestosis?
A person with asbestosis has inflammation and damage to the lung, caused by the industrial chemical asbestos. Asbestos dust damages the small airways, causing inflammation and scarring. The inflammation and damage can cause coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Over time, the lungs can be scarred by pulmonary fibrosis.

What are the symptoms of asbestosis?
Common symptoms of asbestosis include a dry cough and shortness of breath that worsens with activity. Other symptoms include wheezing, foot swelling (bilateral), fatigue, and weight loss.

How does the doctor treat asbestosis?
Treatment for asbestosis may include bronchodilators to reverse wheezing and inhaled corticosteroid medications. Strict avoidance of smoking and exposure to secondary smoke is required. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cough worsens and produces colored mucus.

Continue to Asbestosis Risk Factors

Last Updated: Mar 11, 2011 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Asbestosis References
  1. Cugell DW, Kamp DW. Asbestos and the pleura: aChest. 2004 Mar;125(3):1103-17. [15006974]
  2. Hessel PA, Gamble JF, McDonald JC. Asbestos, asbestosis, and lung cancer: a critical assessment of the epidemiological evidence. Thorax. 2005 May;60(5):433-6. [15860721]
  3. Niklinski J, Niklinska W, Chyczewska E, Laudanski J, Naumnik W, Chyczewski L, Pluygers E. The epidemiology of asbestos-related diseases. Lung Cancer. 2004 Aug;45 Suppl 1:S7-S15. [15261426]
  4. Ohar J, Sterling DA, Bleecker E, Donohue J. Changing patterns in asbestos-induced lung disease. Chest. 2004 Feb;125(2):744-53. [14769760]
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