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Silicosis vs Asbestosis Comparing Similarities and Differences

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Both attack your lungs, look and feel the same, and one can be confused for the other. Usually, you will encounter both asbestosis and silicosis from a work environment. Moreover, doctors have also discovered that treating both is complicated. But still, both are different in some ways. Otherwise, why would there have been two names? Let’s take a look at how asbestosis and silicosis are different.


This lung disease is caused by breathing in dust. It contains silica which is a tiny crystal present in mineral ores, rock, or sand. Here are its types:

  • Chronic: It occurs when the person was exposed to less amount of silica. And, its symptoms won’t be visible for around 10 years. It starts with a mild level of infection that, after some time, gradually worsens.
  • Acute: The symptoms could appear in some weeks or take years to show up.
  • Accelerated silicosis: Symptoms appear after around five to ten years of detection and then accelerate quickly.

Difference Between Silicosis and Asbestosis

A person who has worked with (or near) asbestos fibers is likely to be at or near the same workplace where those exposed to silica dust work. Common symptoms of both diseases are trouble breathing or shortness of breathing, chest pain, persistent or nagging cough, and extreme tiredness.

  • But Asbestosis is present in the lower lungs while silicosis is present in the upper lungs.
  • Asbestosis is pulmonary fibrosis whereas silicosis causes long-term lung scarring tissue as it is a respiratory disease.
  • Swelling in fingers is common in asbestosis but swollen in legs is common in silicosis.
  • Asbestosis disease can take 20 to 30 years to show up but silicosis appears in some years.

If you suspect any of the two dangers around, you should immediately call for an asbestos inspection in Newcastle.

Flora Wilson