Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory medical condition affecting the parenchymal tissue of the lungs. It occurs after long-term, heavy exposure to asbestos, e.g. in mining, and is therefore regarded as an occupational lung disease. Sufferers have severe dyspnea (shortness of breath) and are at an increased risk regarding several different types of lung cancer.
As clear explanations are not always stressed in non-technical literature, care should be taken to distinguish between several forms of relevant diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these may be defined as; asbestosis (the subject of this article), lung cancer, and mesothelioma (generally a very rare form of cancer, but increasing in frequency as people exposed to asbestos age).