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Asbestosis symptoms

Updated on May 16, 2013
Asbestosis - lung cancer symptom
Asbestosis - lung cancer symptom

Lung cancer symptom - Asbestosis

Before we see the asbestosis symptoms (lung cancer symptom) lets contextualize this disease.

The respiratory system is most affected by the inhalation of asbestos fibers. Apart from asthma, bronchitis and other chronic respiratory limitations it can cause four types of lung diseases: asbestosis, pleural diseases, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The first two, according to the mechanism of pathogenicity, are classified as fibrotic diseases and are benign. The rest are neoplastic diseases and are malignant.

What is Asbestosis?

The development of this disease is related to the theory of "frustrated macrophage". According to this, the shorter inhaled fibers that reach the alveolar space, are easily phagocytosed by macrophages and removed from the respiratory system. However, the longer fibers (especially the amphibole type) because of their needle shape - are very difficult to phagocytose and macrophages - in an attempt to digest them - release cytokines and its lysosomal content. As these fibers are resistant to digestion by these enzymes, unlike the case with short fibers (chrysotile) that are easily dissolved, they persist in the alveolar space and stimulate the release of more cytokines other frustrated macrophages.

Other chemical mediators released by macrophages stimulate an inflammatory response that includes the release of chemotactic factors which activate more macrophages to the area and release of fibronectin that stimulates the fibroblasts to produce fibrous tissue in the area.

It was also shown that the asbestos are capable of catalyzing lipid peroxidation, suggesting that this may be another mechanism by which asbestos causes tissue damage.

The inflammatory response begins a few weeks after the first exposure to asbestos and fibrosis is continuously caused as long as there are persistent fibers in the lungs.

The first symptoms of asbestosis are shortness of breath with exertion and low tolerance to exercise and when they appear already exists a peribronchial fibrotic diffusion. When the interstitial fibrosis that characterizes this disease is very diffuse it occurs pulmonary hypertension and death from heart failure. However, the main cause of death in patients with asbestosis is the development of lung cancer.

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Related hub:

- What is mesothelioma


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