Asbestos Cough

Veterans who worked around, or were exposed to asbestos are at risk for developing a persistent cough. Asbestos cough is a dry crackling sound in the lungs while breathing in, and can be one of the first symptoms to appear after exposure. Read how early detection of asbestos cough is crucial in helping fight your disease.

Veteran experiencing chest pain from asbestos cough.

What Does an Asbestos Cough Sound Like?

Asbestos cough, a specific mesothelioma symptom associated with veterans and people exposed to asbestos, is a dry crackling sound in the lungs while breathing in. For veterans working around asbestos, it is important to recognize and address the persistent cough, as it may be linked with a serious health condition such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Coughing is one of the first symptoms to appear and can be a signifier of fibrosis or lung scarring.

If you’ve noticed a dry persistent cough and have a history of asbestos exposure or working around asbestos, we recommend visiting a doctor specializing in lung issues. Our advocates have worked with survivors and family members of those with asbestos cough to find resources, treatment options, and specialists and can connect you to resources. We understand the fears surrounding asbestos cough and the pain it causes veterans and their families and are here to help you gain insight into your illness and fight the disease.

How Long Does It Take to See Symptoms of Asbestos Cough?

The latency period for asbestosis is about 20 years, but most veterans experience symptoms between 10 to 50 years after exposure. The symptoms you face, such as coughing after working with asbestos, are not directly from exposure. Instead, it’s a signifier of an underlying issue and will worsen as your underlying issue progresses. Health concerns such as tumor growth, pleural effusions, and cancer treatments can worsen your cough from the thickening of your lung lining. As the lining thickens, you will also notice increased shortness of breath and chest pain.

If your symptoms persist it’s important to get checked by a professional, as you may have developed mesothelioma. Monitoring your symptoms will help your prognosis and potentially save your life. Mesothelioma survival rates are typically 4 to 18 months after diagnosis, but early detection greatly extends your survival rate. Time is of the essence in fighting mesothelioma, so if you experience any symptoms, it’s crucial to take action promptly.

Asbestos Cough Diagnosis

If you suspect you may be experiencing asbestos cough it’s important to go to a doctor specializing in lung cancer for a more accurate diagnosis. Early detection is crucial as it can increase your survival rates and the number of treatment options available. Diagnosis starts with carefully examining your medical history and possible exposure. Your doctor may ask questions to identify exposure, such as where you worked, how long you worked there, and the products you encountered.

After, they will conduct lung cancer screenings, including chest X-rays and CT scans, to determine lung function and the severity of the scarring. It’s important to answer your doctor’s questions honestly, as it will determine your prognosis. Since mesothelioma is a rare disease, we recommend getting a second opinion from another specialist. A second opinion can also help you find the best treatment options and avoid misdiagnosis.

Veterans who were diagnosed with mesothelioma may be eligible for VA compensation. To find out if you qualify, fill out a form today.

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Pulmonary Function Tests for Asbestos Cough

Mesothelioma cancer center specialists evaluate respiratory system function through pulmonary function tests. Your evaluation will measure your lung volume, capacity, flow rates, and gas exchange. For Veterans undergoing treatment for mesothelioma, PFTs are also used to monitor their response to the treatment and determine if the patient may need to try another treatment method. Pulmonary Function Tests include:

  • Spirometry
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise test
  • Body plethysmography
  • Ventilation scans

Asbestos Cough Treatment

Although there is no cure for mesothelioma or asbestosis, there are many asbestos cough treatment options available to ease symptoms and improve your quality of life from asbestos cough. Your doctor will offer solutions to manage your symptoms, but by incorporating lifestyle changes and joining support groups, you can ease your stress from the asbestos cough and keep yourself healthy. Some asbestos cough treatment options that can slow down the progression and relieve some of your symptoms are:

  • Oxygen Therapy: Improves breathlessness if your blood oxygen levels are low.
  • Inhalers: Eases mild breathing symptoms.
  • Steroid Inhalers: Reduces inflammation in the lungs.
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation: Program offering educational and exercise recourses to ease pain, such as breathing and relaxation techniques to improve physical activity levels.
  • Corticosteroid Therapy: Suppresses acute and chronic inflammatory processes and reduces lung damage; but has a low success rate.
  • Lung Transplant: For severe cases of chronic or irreversible fibrosis, and when all other therapies have failed your doctor may recommend a lung transplant.

Seeking Legal Representation for Asbestos Cough

If you have been exposed to asbestos, recognizing the symptoms of mesothelioma and asbestosis, such as asbestos cough, can help with early detection and aid in receiving proper treatment for your condition. If you’ve noticed yourself or a loved one coughing after working with asbestos products in the military, you may be eligible for legal compensation.

Finding quality care and navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, but don’t worry, that’s where we come in. Our team of patient advocates is here to help veterans suffering from asbestos cough, understand their treatment options, grant them access to the care they deserve, and provide legal support. For more information about mesothelioma and asbestosis in the military, visit our site today, or contact us for support and resources.

Author: Mesothelioma Team – Last Edited: June 19, 2024


“Asbestosis: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic, Accessed 18 June 2024.
“Asbestosis – Symptoms & causes.” Mayo Clinic, Accessed 18 June 2024.
“Support for Malignant Mesothelioma.” NYU Langone Health, Accessed 18 June 2024.
Wiginton, Keri. “Lung Cancer Cough: What to Know.” WebMD, 8 August 2022, Accessed 18 June 2024.