Asbestos Update


A Service of the Long Beach V A M C                                 Patient Education Series 1998



What Is It?

Infection of the lung from breathing asbestos particles. It may lead to cancer of the lung, especially if you smoke.  It is the most dangerous work related lung disease.

What Are the Signs?

Early symptoms:

       Shortness of breath.

       Cough that produces little or no spit.

       General ill feeling.

Late symptoms:

       Restless sleep; not hungry.

       Chest pain.

       Hoarseness; coughing blood.

       Nails turn a blue color.

What Are The Causes?

Being around small bits of asbestos at work or other places. The outer part of the lung becomes irritated by the asbestos, leading to infection and to a thickening and scarring of the lung tissue.

You Are More Likely to Get This:

       If you are around asbestos in your job.

       If you smoke.

How Can I Keep From Getting This?

       If you around asbestos, wear a mask or hood.

       Follow directions approved by industry to keep  down asbestos dust.

       Do not smoke.

       Get regular exercise to keep your heart in good condition.

       If you work with asbestos, have regular x-rays to show any shadow on the lungs.

What Can I Expect If I Do Have This?

       This cannot be cured, however, symptoms can controlled.





Some Possible Problems Are:


       Heart failure due to lung disease.

       Lung collapse.


       Lung cancer.

How Can It Be Controlled?

       Stop smoking.

       Get medical treatment for any infection, including the common cold.

       Think about moving to a warm, dry climate if you have advanced disease.

       Use a cool-mist humidifier to loosen chest so you can cough easily.

       Get flu and pneumonia shots every year.

       Avoid crowds and persons with infections.

Will I Need To Take Medicine?

       The doctor will prescribe antibiotics for infections, and medicine to help clear up chest.

       For minor pain, Tylenol or aspirin.

       You may need to take oxygen.


Contact your VA Now!


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