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Can asbestosis be cured? What should patients expect?

Feb 26, 2021 | Asbestos-related Diseases

Asbestosis is one disease that is related to asbestos exposure. There is no cure for this disease, which mimics pulmonary fibrosis as well as other kinds of chronic respiratory conditions. 

Since there is no way to reverse this condition, it is important to seek treatment to make the patient’s life easier. There are management techniques that can help with pain, breathing and other symptoms. 

How is asbestosis diagnosed?

Asbestosis is diagnosed through a physical exam, pulmonary testing and imaging tests. A chest X-ray is usually ordered first, and it will show white areas around the lungs if asbestosis is present in an advanced stage. In severe cases, the chest may have a honeycomb-like appearance. One or both lungs may be affected. 

Another scan that can be used is a computerized tomography scan (CT). A CT scan shows different angles of the body, so there is more detail to go on. It may catch asbestosis in its earlier stages. Other pulmonary tests and diagnostic procedures include lung function tests, bronchoscopies and thoracentesis. 

Is there any effective treatment for asbestosis?

There are treatments available that can make it easier to breathe, but there are no treatments that can reverse the damage to the alveoli. Treatment will aim to reduce the speed at which the disease progresses, prevent complications and relieve symptoms. Some patients go through pulmonary rehabilitation programs, while others receive supplemental oxygen to help them breathe better. In severe cases, a lung transplant may be available to certain patients. 

Asbestosis is more common than it should be. If you have it, make sure you get medical care and look into your options for compensation. There may be funds available to you from one or more sources, and that can help with your care and your family’s needs.