In Severe Asbestosis Cases, Supplemental Oxygen is Required
Due to the accumulating damage caused by asbestos fibers, asbestosis and asbestos pleural disease are slowly progressive asbestos diseases. They may be treated, but not cured. The physician will try to ease the patient’s symptoms and to prevent further medical complications.
If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, you will be advised to avoid further contact with asbestos and to quit smoking. Patients run an increased risk of respiratory infections, so you may be treated with antibiotics for other respiratory ailments. It is wise to avoid large crowds where you may be exposed to such ailments, and to keep influenza and pneumococcal immunizations up to date.
Treating Asbestosis and Other Asbestos Diseases
Your doctor can instruct you on how to perform bronchial drainage for your asbestosis. At home, you may also use an ultrasonic, mist humidifier to loosen bronchial secretions so that they can be expelled through coughing. Respiratory therapists can use chest physical therapy techniques to further aid in removing secretions (Complete Guide to Symptoms, Illness & Surgery, Asbestosis, H. Winter Griffith, M.D.).
Shortness of breath is treated with bronchodilators, inhaled or oral medications that open up the bronchial tubes and allow the passage of air. In more severe asbestosis cases, supplemental oxygen may be required.
Productive cough is treated with humidifiers and chest percussion. For minor discomfort, you can take over-the-counter drugs such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce chest pain.
Unfortunately, patients with asbestosis and asbestos pleural disease have an increased chance of developing mesothelioma, asbestos lung cancer, and a variety of malignancies. Your physician will monitor you for these asbestos diseases.