One of a number of diseases caused by breathing asbestos dust and fibres. Asbestosis is a form of fibrosis, or scarring of the lungs. This causes severe breathlessness, heart failure and an increased risk of lung cancer mesothelioma. There is no treatment to alter the progression of the disease; sufferers undertake courses of oxygen therapy and physiotherapy to mitigate symptoms.
The use of asbestos in the building industry has been banned for some years. However builders and tradesmen such as plumbers and electricians who may have previously worked with asbestos-based products are still at risk of contracting this disease. Anyone who have been exposed to asbestos via work, home or environment, should notify their doctors about exposure history. This would include anyone who lived near a factory manufacturing asbestos-based products before they were banned.