Understanding Asbestos

What you should know about Asbestos Related Disease (ARD)


A diagnosis of Asbestos Related Disease (ARD) is given based on symptoms, asbestos exposure history, screening test results and a physical exam. When you are diagnosed with ARD it may include a number of asbestos induced conditions. ARD can be malignant (cancerous) but is usually nonmalignant and most commonly presents as:

  1. Pleural thickening or plaquing – scarring of the lung lining
  2. Asbestosis – scarring of the lung tissue
  3. Mesothelioma – asbestos related cancer of organ lining; this rarely emerges out of the above conditions.


Each individual responds differently to asbestos exposure and therefore it is not possible to predict the course of ARD. Your age at the time of exposure to asbestos, amount of exposure, and your genetics may play a significant role in the disease process. Many people diagnosed with ARD continue to live long healthy lives with mild or no respiratory problems. It is also important to note that asbestos exposure increases your risk for some cancers. ARD is considered a chronic condition that cannot be cured, so proactive healthcare management is the best way to stay healthy with ARD.

Health Care Management

Proactive management of ARD includes:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight
  • Seeing your ARD provider annually or as otherwise recommended
  • Avoiding dust, fumes, second hand smoke and other respiratory irritants
  • Getting and staying up to date on pneumonia and flu vaccines
  • Using your medications as prescribed
  • Awareness of your stress level, emotions and adaptability which can effect your physical health
  • Minimizing your risk of infection, for example: regular hand washing