Asbestosis is a form of pneumoconiosis (an occupational and restrictive lung disease caused by inhaling of dust or other foreign objects that are used or produced in an occupation) caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers. If your doctor diagnoses you with this condition, you may have many questions, doubts and fears of the unknowns about this condition. You can start by asking some of the ones I have chalked out below to help you through your process of better understanding:
1. Is asbestosis curable?
Pulmonary asbestosis or mesothelioma (lung cancer) is not curable. It is a progressive disease and can only be managed at best. Other less acute variations can be treated more successfully.
2. What exactly will I be going through symptom-wise?
Symptoms are wide-ranging and you could be faced with any of the symptoms (if you are not already exhibiting some key/indicative symptoms), such as dyspnea (shortness of breath) due to reduced total lung capacity, cough (though a rare symptom), chest pain, easily fatigued, respiratory failure, deformity or clubbing of fingers, plaque formation in the parietal pleura, diffused fibrotic pattern in the lower lung lobes, etc.
3. Will I need to be hospitalised?
Depending on the stage and acuity of your condition, you will be in all probability required to be hospitalized until the time aggressive treatment is on. However, your doctor will be the right person to ask this question.
4. What drugs will I be given?
Treatment of asbestosis usually focuses on relieving symptoms and avoiding exposure to asbestos areas. Apart from this, it is recommended to abstain from smoking in the duration of taking symptomatic therapy. Often,
• Oxygen therapy is prescribed to counteract breathlessness.
• Physiotherapy including chest percussions, massage and vibration to drain pleural fluid is advised.
• Nebulization with prescribed medication is also undertaken.
• Corticosteroids or other such immunosuppressors may be used under doctor’s consultation to relieve other symptoms of asbestosis.