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Causes of Asbestosis

Explore the causes of asbestosis, from inhaling asbestos dust to lung tissue scarring. Discover the importance of safety measures and early detection in preventing this debilitating lung disease.

  • 14 Feb 2024
  • 2 min read

Asbestosis is a serious lung disease caused by inhaling high levels of asbestos fibres over a long period of time. When asbestos dust is inhaled, the tiny fibres can become lodged in the lungs, leading to lung tissue scarring and stiffening over time. This scarring makes it progressively more difficult to breathe. Understanding the causes of asbestosis is important for prevention and early treatment of this debilitating disease.

What are the causes of Asbestosis?

Here are some of the major causes of asbestosis:

  • Inhaling High Asbestos Dust Levels - Breathing in concentrated asbestos dust over many years, often in high-risk work environments like construction, puts you at the greatest risk. The more dust inhaled, the more fibres are embedded in lung tissue.
  • Fibres Lodged in Lung Tissue - When inhaled, tiny asbestos fibres can become trapped in the alveoli (small air sacs) of the lungs. The sharp fibres then irritate and scar the thin lung tissue.
  • Lung Tissue Scarring - Continued irritation and inflammation cause progressive scarring of the lungs. This makes the lung tissue stiff and inelastic over time, reducing the lungs' ability to expand and contract for air intake.
  • Smoking - Smoking drastically increases asbestos fibre retention in lung tissue and accelerates the disease's progression. The combined damage from smoking and asbestos puts smokers at much higher risk.

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Understanding these causes points to the importance of safety regulations, monitoring at-risk workers, and smoking cessation programs to curb asbestosis rates. Catching and addressing asbestos exposure early is key to preserving lung function.

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