Is asbestosis fatal?

An article from the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine reports the story of a 65-year-old who developed fatal asbestosis after being exposed to asbestos 50 years earlier during a single summer job. He eventually went into severe respiratory failure from the scarring in his lungs. This case study highlights the potential danger of asbestosis along with “the health effects of brief but very high-intensity exposures to asbestos.” Nevertheless, asbestosis isn’t necessarily fatal; rather, it’s a chronic health condition that must be managed carefully.

Is asbestosis fatal?

Asbestos fibers that become lodged in human lung tissue can cause asbestosis along with lung cancer and the highly aggressive cancer mesothelioma. The former is caused by scarring that occurs when the fibers irritate the tissue. Scarred lung tissue is less flexible, leading to the typical symptoms of shortness of breath, coughing, fatigue and chest pain.
There is no cure for asbestosis. The scar tissue can’t be turned back to healthy tissue. However, symptoms can be treated with bronchodilators that help relax the muscles of the airway, along with inhalers and supplemental oxygen. In severe cases, surgery can remove some of the scar tissue. In extreme cases, a lung transplant may be an option.
Asbestosis worsens over time and can cause fatal respiratory failure, but in many cases it develops very slowly and can be managed effectively.

Is asbestosis fatal?

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