Asbestosis is a disease of occupational exposure that affected asbestos miners and those who worked with friable (airborne) asbestos products such as insulation over long periods of time. Exposure to the mineral causes inflammation and scarring in the lungs which eventually leads to loss of lung function and death.
The disease cannot be reversed once it is established and treatment focuses on supportive care. Patients are encouraged to stop smoking as the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure causes more damage combined than either does alone. Sufferers are routinely vaccinated against diseases that affect the lungs, such as influenza. Oxygen therapy can be helpful.