Patient: I have been exposed to some asbestos during a renovation, and originally wasnt’t concerned because i had the attic insulation tested for asbestos and it came back negative. 2 months after the first exposure i started having a sore throat. A couple weeks later i started to notice i felt short on breath, and have some chest pain and lung irritation. I notice the breathing all the time but it gets work with physical exertion. I have had these symptoms for 2 months now and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. I had the insulation re-tested and 3 samples came back positive for tremolite asbestos. I have been to the doctor and had a lung test where they test blood from your arteries (wrist), a regular blood test and a chest x-ray a few weeks ago. They can’t find anything wrong in these initial tests, but im worried because its not going away and i have never had any problems like this before. Also these symptoms seem to match symptoms of asbestos exposure- although they are happening very quickly. Is it possible for my body to be reacting rapidly to this asbestos exposure without any detectable problems with the tests i had? Thanks for any help.
Doctor: Exposure to asbestos is known to cause scarring and inflammation of the lung, thought this depends on the chronicity of the exposure, the type of asbestos and amount exposed. Asbestos is also a known human carcinogen, leading to lung cancer and mesothelioma (a cancer of the membranes around the lungs and abdomen). Breathlessness on exertion is the most common finding. Dry cough and chest discomfort may also be present. These symptomes usually take tame to develop and would be unlikely in your case. The first step you need to take is to get your house completely asbestos free and have regular check-ups with your family physician if the symptoms do not improve.