Sarcoidosis, a multiorgan, granulomatous disease of unknown etiology, remains a mystery. Several important studies over the past two years complement cumulative evidence of both occupational and environmental causes of granulomatosis. Can asbestos cause sarcoidosis?
Sarcoidosis, a multiorgan, granulomatous disease of unknown etiology, remains a challenge. For almost 100 years, researchers have used different approaches to identifying the cause of this disorder. Over the past decade, the emerging consensus is that there is no single cause for this disorder. It is more likely that any number of antigens can serve as the nucleus of granulomatous inflammation that arises when a pro-inflammatory microenvironment is formed. Genetic sensitivity is also likely to contribute to the risk of sarcoidosis, although this document will focus in more detail on the latest workplace exposure events.
Interstitial lung disease and asbestos
Numerous environmental factors, such as asbestos, silica dust, coal dust, cotton dust and hard metal dust, can cause various forms of interstitial lung disease (ILD). Diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis and other connective tissue and blood related diseases can also cause ILD. Sometimes it is caused by some drugs and infections, including pneumonia and cytomegalovirus. The form of interstitial lung disease caused by asbestos is called asbestosis. Asbestosis is also known as pulmonary fibrosis and interstitial inflammation.
Other types of interstitial lung disease
In addition to asbestosis, there are many different types of ILD.
- Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a diagnosis given when the cause of the fibrosis is unknown (idiopathic). This form of ILD is chronic and progressive, as is asbestosis.
- Interstitial pneumonia includes interstitial inflammation and is caused by exposure to bacteria, fungi, or viruses. This is usually temporary.
- Exfoliative interstitial pneumonia is a form of ILD caused by cigarette smoking.
- Hypersensitive pneumonia is caused by repeated inhalation of irritants such as dust or mold.
- Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease that can affect several organs, but usually affects the lungs and lymph nodes.
If your doctor determines that you have an asbestos-related lung disorder, how should you treat it?
No intervention has been proven that would alter the subsequent development of asbestos-related lung disorders. The procedure should be aimed at avoiding further exposure, symptomatic treatment, health maintenance, and for patients at risk, monitoring malignancy. Patients should be advised that they are suffering from a work-related illness and may be able to obtain compensation. It is noteworthy that there is a relationship between asbestos exposure and colorectal cancer and patients should be screened.
Frequently visited places, including homes, vehicles and schools, pose uncertain risks. Antique and classic car parts, such as brakes, clutches and seals, once commonly also containing asbestos. Obsolete homes pose the highest risk of exposing civilians, since every home built before 1980 poses a high risk of asbestos. Because asbestos was a common addition to insulation, tiles, roofs, cement and siding, many older school buildings still contain these original materials, which increases possible levels of exposure.