By Treven Pyles
Posted on November 26th, 2020
Asbestosis is a debilitating lung condition caused by long-term exposure to asbestos. Because asbestosis is a progressive disease that affects breathing by hardening and scarring the lungs, it's important for people with a history of asbestos exposure in the workplace, who experience symptoms of sleep apnea to be correctly diagnosed.
For about a hundred years, asbestos was in heavy use in thousands of industrial products, especially related to construction and maintenance. Soon enough, its harmful effects have been confirmed; however, by then its benefits seemed so useful that many companies were willing to overlook potential health and safety issues. The cost in human lives is still being paid to this day because the effects of asbestos exposure only become noticeable decades after the initial exposure.
The vast majority of people who suffer from asbestosis had worked in industrial facilities such as shipyards, chemical plants, oil refineries, or automotive assembly plants between 1935 and 1980 when asbestos was highly prevalent in these occupational settings. Because asbestosis is a progressive disease that affects breathing by hardening and scarring the lung, it's important for people with a history of asbestos exposure in the workplace, who experience symptoms of sleep apnea to be correctly diagnosed. Correct diagnosis and prompt treatment can relieve symptoms of chest congestion, tightness, and difficulty breathing and extend your life expectancy.
Symptoms of asbestos-related pulmonary diseases appear gradually only after large areas of the lungs become scarred. The scarring causes the lungs to stiffen. The first symptoms are mild shortness of breath and a decreased ability to exercise. Gradually, breathing becomes more and more difficult. In about 35% of people with asbestosis, for example, severe shortness of breath and respiratory failure develop.
Difficulty breathing during the day and sudden awakenings with a sensation of gasping or choking arise because of pleural thickening caused by the longtime presence of asbestos fibers, or pleural effusion, the buildup of extra fluid in the space between the lungs and the chest wall. Cancerous tumors of the lungs can restrict the regular movement of the lung during breathing, diaphragm, heart, and other organs in the chest and abdominal cavities. Because any abnormal growth in the chest cavity can reduce the space into which the lungs usually expand, breathing becomes more difficult, leading to breathlessness.