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Asbestosis is a serious, chronic lung condition caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. Unfortunately, once it had developed, there is no cure for asbestosis, but some treatements can help to alleviate symptoms.


As the name suggests, asbestosis (or asbestos-related pulmonary fibrosis) is caused by exposure to asbestos. To be at risk of developing asbestosis, you need to have been exposed to substantial amounts of airborne asbestos dust and fibres. Inhaling large quantities of asbestos over a prolonged period of time causes the asbestos fibres to become lodged in the small sacs in the lungs. Over time, the asbestos fibres irritate the lung tissue, and this can cause scarring which grows across the lungs, eventually preventing them from expanding normally, causing symptoms such as breathlessness.  

Former asbestos factory workers, asbestos laggers, demolition workers or heating and ventilation engineers are more likely to have had enough exposure to asbestos to support a diagnosis of asbestosis.  


Symptoms of asbestosis usually do not appear until between 20 and 40 years after heavy, prolonged exposure to asbestos. Symptoms will vary between patients but can include: 

  • Breathlessness  
  • A persistent cough 
  • Chest pain or tightness 
  • Crackling sounds in the lungs on inhalation 
  • Clubbing of the fingertips and toes, this is where they look swollen 

If you think you have symptoms of asbestosis, you should visit your GP who will listen to your chest and may send you for a chest x-ray or CT scan. You may also be referred for lung function tests to see how your lungs have been affected.  


Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestosis, however, there are treatments available that can help to alleviate symptoms.  

Pulmonary rehabilitation may be offered. This is an exercise and education programme for people with lung disease which aims to help patients better understand their condition and symptoms, and to help ease breathing symptoms.  

Oxygen therapy could also help with symptoms. This provides patients with an oxygen tank or machine, allowing them to inhale oxygen-rich air which can relieve some breathlessness by improving blood oxygen levels.  

For anyone with mild symptoms of asbestosis, an inhaler may be prescribed to help ease breathing difficulties.  


Although there is no cure for asbestosis, the prognosis is relatively positive. Despite it being a progressive, chronic condition, it normally progresses slowly, and patients can live with the condition for many years, decades even.  

Asbestosis is not a malignant condition and so is not often the direct cause of someone’s death. However, it can contribute to someone’s death if they have other health conditions.  

Making a claim for asbestosis 

Our specialist asbestos disease solicitors have pursued hundreds of claims for asbestosis and know what is required to succeed.  

They will take you through your employment history to establish your exposure to asbestos. You do not need to remember all the companies you have worked for; we will obtain your schedule of employment from the HMRC which will give the names of all the companies that have employed you and during which years. From this we can prepare a statement outlining your exposure to asbestos and evidence for the claim.  

Our solicitors will also obtain and review your full medical records, and this together with your employment history, will form the basis of a compensation claim.  

Get in touch with us today to see whether you can make a claim for asbestosis compensation. You can call us on 01244 312306 or email 

We have nothing but praise and gratitude for Helena Cameron at Oliver & Co Solicitor’s 
Helena has helped us reach a successful claim which we are eternally grateful for. 
She will never know what a difference she has made to our future. 
Your health is the most important thing so when you are given the blow diagnosis of Asbestosis it has a great impact on your life in many ways including financially. 
Helena is the most kindest professional person the way she has helped us. We wouldn’t have a secure financial future if it hadn’t been for Helena.

S Brown

Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306

James Cameron

Associate Director & Industrial Disease Solicitor

Helena Cameron

Director & Industrial Disease Solicitor

Eve Halliday

Trainee Solicitor

Helen Davies

Industrial Disease Paralegal

Lucy Metcalfe