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Treating Asbestosis: What You Need to Know

Treating Asbestosis is a difficult decision for any doctor to make. Although it is quite rare, the disease has the potential to become more serious and even cause death if left untreated.

While lung disease is a very common type of cancer, it is not always something that doctors find easy to deal with. Many are lucky enough to have other options than chemotherapy or radiation, but others struggle through a life with the debilitating effects of Asbestosis.

When people talk about lung disease, most think first of cancer. Lung cancer is a cancerous growth in the lungs, and lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all types of cancer. Cancerous lungs can be removed by surgery, but the process can be painful and require hospitalization.

Asbestosis is a lung disease that causes scarring that increases with time

Treating Asbestosis

These scarred areas are where lung cancer and scarring meet. Treating Asbestosis is a decision that requires a thorough examination of the individual. The lung surgeon will perform a chest x-ray to determine whether the person has cancer or not. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs are used to find lung cancer and lung scarring, while the bronchoscopy and bronchoscopes (bronchodilators) can help physicians to remove the scarring.

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Upon completing the complete lung evaluation, the doctor will be able to decide on the type of treatment to be used. There are two types of treatment used for treating Asbestosis.

These treatments are bronchodilators and surgical removal

Bronchodilators are used to dilate the airways of the lungs to open up breathing. This helps to decrease pain and reduce coughing and stops the patient from having to cough all the time. The breathing process is further improved by the use of nasal strips and breathing devices. Sometimes a tube is inserted into the nose in order to help the patient breathe easier.

In order to keep the airways open, the patient is usually on an inhaling breathing machine (bronchodilators) to help them breathe large volumes of air and prevent heartburn and other problems. Bronchodilators are quite effective in dealing with this type of lung disease, but they can only get the lung scarring to go away.

Once the Bronchodilator treatment has worked, then the lung disease will need to be treated with surgery. If the scarring has been left to continue its work, the surgeon will need to remove the remaining lung to prevent the lungs from collapsing back into the chest. Once the lungs have been removed, the lung scarring will disappear.

Bronchodilators has 3 side effects that will need to let you know about

Beta-adrenergic Bronchodilators side effects

Common side effects of beta-adrenergic bronchodilators include

  • Migraine headaches
  • Non-migraine headaches
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Cold symptoms
  • Ear infections (otitis media)
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
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Other side effects of beta-adrenergic bronchodilators include

  • Allergic reactions (rash, hives, itching)
  • Nervousness
  • Tremor
  • Wheezing
  • Increased sputum
  • Shortness of breath

Possible serious side effects of beta-adrenergic bronchodilators include

  • Bronchospasm (worsening of asthma)
  • Serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)
  • Low potassium
  • Abnormal heart rhythm (palpitations)
  • Fast heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Chest pain

Anticholinergic bronchodilators

Common side effects of anticholinergic bronchodilators include

  • Dry mouth
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing

Other side effects of anticholinergic bronchodilators include

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Indigestion
  • Back pain
  • Sinusitis
  • Bronchitis

Possible serious side effects of anticholinergic bronchodilators include

  • Life-threatening bronchospasms
  • Serious allergic reactions involving the closure of the airways.
  • Worsening symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Worsening symptoms of narrow-angle glaucoma

Xanthines

Common side effects of xanthines include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Flushing
  • Palpitations

Other side effects of xanthines include

  • Diuresis
  • Restlessness
  • Tremor
  • Insomnia

Possible serious side effects of xanthines include

  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Hypotension
  • Exfoliative dermatitis. Source

Asbestosis is relatively harmless, and it does not usually cause any long term health problems. However, the scarring is a good indicator that there may be lung cancer cells growing in the area.

Treating Asbestosis is a big decision, and often it will involve the doctor recommending a biopsy of the lung tissue for any abnormalities, including lung cancer. This makes sure that the symptoms of Asbestosis are found early enough to be treated before the condition becomes too serious.

In conclusion, if Asbestosis is discovered during routine screening, the patient may not be told what it is or when it will become a problem. However, if the symptoms are not detected early enough, and if the lung scarring is serious enough, a lung transplant will be needed to treat the patient.

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