What Is Asbestosis?

Asbestosis is a breathing disorder caused by the inhalation of high levels of asbestos fibers. The asbestos fibers scar the lung parenchyma (lung tissue) thereby diminishing lung capacity. Asbestosis is an incurable and progressive disease. In some cases, it leads to death. Workers likely to sustain such high levels of exposure have historically included spray insulators and asbestos miners and millers. 1

When inhaled, asbestos fibers travel through the lung bronchi and eventually reach the alveoli. The alveoli are the tiny air sacs where oxygen passes from the lungs into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide passes from the bloodstream into the lung to be expelled. Cells called macrophages respond to the affected alveoli and attempt to digest the asbestos fibers. However, unlike dust particles and chemicals, the asbestos fibers are partially resistant to breakdown. As the microphage continues to attempt to digest the asbestos fibers, it unintentionally inflames and scars the alveoli. This process is called fibrosis.

If a person inhales sufficient quantities of asbestos fibers, the cumulative scarring of alveoli reduces the person's ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. As a person's lung capacity is diminished, shortness of breath results and becomes progressively worse over time, especially if exposure to asbestos continues. The scarring also causes the lungs to stiffen, like a dried sponge, requiring more effort to breathe.

Contact A Minnesota Asbestosis Lawyer About Filing A Claim

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with asbestosis, submit your information to the right for a free case evaluation and one of our Minnesota asbestosis lawyers will contact you, or call one of our attorneys directly at 800-620-1829 or review our Minnesota asbestosis lawyers' bios.

1. Roggli, et al., Pathology of Asbestos-Associated Diseases, 2nd Edition