What is atelectasis?

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2021 | Asbestos |

Asbestos is an incredibly toxic substance that can cause serious medical issues, such as lung cancer. It can also cause other medical conditions, including atelectasis.

This condition occurs when the small airways in your lungs are unable to inflate and deflate normally. Breathing becomes much more difficult as a result, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms and complications. Here are a few things you should know if you or someone you love has atelectasis.

Symptoms of atelectasis

Any breathing symptoms require immediate medical evaluation to prevent worsening effects. In addition to difficulty breathing, this lung disorder also causes other symptoms. People with atelectasis often experience pain in the chest, persistent coughing, and an increased heart rate. Lack of oxygen can also cause the skin and lips to take on a bluish tint. Possible complications include low blood oxygen levels, pneumonia, and complete respiratory failure.

Causes and risk factors

Atelectasis occurs for many reasons. Risk factors include obesity, smoking, certain medical conditions, and injuries to the lungs. Asbestos exposure is a common cause of a certain type of atelectasis known as rounded or folded lung. Breathing in asbestos over long periods results in a condition called asbestosis, which damages the tissue that surrounds the lungs and limits breathing.


Doctors can use one or more therapies when treating patients with atelectasis. Inhaled medications open up the airways and improve breathing. If mucus accumulation is an issue, doctors can bronchoscopy in order to break it up. Some patients receive physiotherapies, such as special sleeping positions and exercises. A continuous positive airway pressure can also improve breathing in many people.

Timely medical intervention is crucial to prevent symptoms from getting worse. Your doctor can use diagnostic procedures like x-rays and CT scans to get to the bottom of your symptoms and recommend a suitable treatment.