Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Asbestosis?

  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent and productive cough (a cough that expels mucus)
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • A dry, crackling sound in the lungs while breathing in

How is Asbestosis Detected?

  • Physical exam
  • Chest x-ray
  • Lung function test
  • Biopsy, where small samples of lung tissue are surgically removed and then examined to see if tiny asbestos fibers are in them
  • CT scan

How is Asbestosis Treated?

There is no cure for asbestosis. The most important steps you can take are to prevent further exposure to asbestos and to quit smoking.

Treatments to ease symptoms include pounding your chest and back repeatedly with your hands or a device to loosen the mucus from your lungs so that you can cough it up.

You may sit with your head tilted down or lay on your stomach with your head down to help drain the mucus from your lungs.

Other treatments may include:

  • Aerosol medications to thin secretions
  • Oxygen by mask or by a plastic piece that fits into the nostrils
  • Lung transplantation