Available treatments for Asbestosis
Unfortunately there are no treatments that will cure Asbestosis once the lungs have been scarred and the Asbestosis has developed, however there are numerous steps that someone suffering with this illness can take to ease their symptoms and in doing so improve their quality of life.
- Oxygen therapy/Inhalers
- Medication and/or Vaccinations
- Smoking cessation
This section will address each of these points in turn.
One of the problems caused by asbestos is lung impairment. The body is not receiving all the oxygen which it needs to be able to function properly and this will cause sufferers to become breathless very quickly, for example a short walk on an incline, walking up a flight of stairs.
Oxygen therapy is provided through an Oxygen Concentrator, this device concentrates the oxygen from ambient gas to give an oxygen enriched atmosphere. The concentrator will be plugged into a mains socket in a room and when turned on it will purify the oxygen in the room to provide a more oxygen rich air supply and the air is then breathed in through a small plastic tube which will be placed inside the nostrils. A mask is also worn to hold the small plastic tube in place.
If this type of treatment is used, the sufferer will also be provided with a small portable tank for when they are not by a mains plug.
For sufferers whose condition and breathlessness is mild use of an inhaler will be sufficient to ease their breathlessness as it relaxes the airways.
Medication and/or Vaccinations
Small doses of morphine will assist a sufferer of asbestosis in suppressing the urge to cough whilst also reducing their sensation of breathlessness.
Steroids may be prescribed to a person with Asbestosis to ease their symptoms. Aspirin may also be used to reduce inflammation and pain caused by Asbestosis.
A person suffering from Asbestosis are vulnerable to infections in their lungs such as bronchitis, sinusitis, septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis to name a few therefore are usually given a pneumococcus vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and possible boosters if necessary and they will also receive the influenza vaccination from their GP.
Once a person has been diagnosed with Asbestosis who is a smoker they are advised to give up smoking as soon as possible as smoking will accelerate their breathlessness and will also make them more susceptible to go on to develop lung cancer.