Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory medical condition affecting the parenchymal tissue of the lungs. It occurs after long-term, heavy exposure to asbestos (for example, 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.
Clear explanations are not always stressed in nontechnical literature, so care should be taken to distinguish between several forms of relevant diseases. According to the World Health Organization (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 who are exposed to asbestos age).