In the 20th century, pulmonary problems due to asbestos or other toxic chemical exposure were fairly common. For many people - especially those working in the milling or mining industry, construction, insulation, or as builders - exposure to asbestos, sawdust, and other airborne toxic chemicals was an unfortunate but unavoidable occupational hazard.
Nowadays, thanks to health codes, regulations, and increased medical knowledge, many avoidable cases of asbestosis have been prevented. That being said, there are still certain professions where asbestos exposure is a potential concern, primarily for demolition workers, firefighters, automobile workers, drywall removers, and asbestos removers.
Lung Disease And Asbestos Exposure
The lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos, or asbestos exposure, is called asbestosis. The symptoms for asbestosis include coughing, chest pain, bloody sputum, difficulty swallowing, neck or facial swelling, decreased appetite, and weight loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you should see a pulmonologist. Pulmonologists have the specific skills and training necessary to diagnose and treat asbestosis and other lung diseases that are caused by the inhalation of toxic chemicals.
How To Test For Exposure To Asbestos
Pulmonary Function Tests, also referred to as PFTs, is an umbrella term to refer to a litany of tests that test and measure lung function. These tests measure how much air you can take into your lungs, how much air you can blow out of your lungs and how fast you can do it, how well your lungs deliver oxygen to your blood, and the strength of the muscles used for breathing.
PFTs can include simple screening spirometry, formal lung volume measurement, diffusing capacity for carbon monoxide, and arterial blood gases. These studies may collectively be referred to as a complete pulmonary function survey. These tests may not show exactly what is causing pulmonary problems, but they will measure how well your lungs are functioning. In order to find causes, a pulmonologist may order chest x-rays or CT scans.
How To Treat Lung Disease From Asbestos Exposure
Oxygen Therapy: A pulmonologist might give you oxygen therapy as an asbestosis treatment depending on your PFT results. Oxygen therapy is a treatment procedure that provides a patient with extra oxygen. Normally, your lungs absorb oxygen from the air you breathe and pass it into your bloodstream, but conditions such as asbestosis can stop your lungs from passing enough oxygen to your blood. This can cause serious problems, so pulmonologists provide supplemental oxygen in the form of oxygen therapy.
Medication: Sometimes a pulmonologist will prescribe medications that will thin secretions and open up airways. These medications should clear up any buildup due to secretions in the lungs or airways, and therefore help the patient breathe easier. In addition to these medications, pulmonologists may also prescribe pain relievers or antibiotics to help fight off infections.
The experts at Pulmonary Associates of Brandon are equipped to diagnose and treat a variety of pulmonary diseases and conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, acute and chronic respiratory failure, lung cancer, pulmonary hypertension, lung infections, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and sleep disorders. They can help you determine what is causing your breathing problems, and prescribe the best treatment plan to correct or reduce your symptoms. The team of highly specialized physicians will know the best way to diagnose and treat any disorders that are caused from the inhalation of asbestos, sawdust, or toxic chemicals. To visit them or schedule an appointment, contact us today