You can prevent asbestos-related lung diseases by limiting your exposure to asbestos fibers. If your job requires you to work around asbestos, make sure to follow workplace rules for handling it. For example, make sure that air levels are measured, and wear a proper respirator to avoid breathing in asbestos fibers.
If you live in a house or work in a building that has pipes or other products containing asbestos, you generally don’t need to take special precautions. Being around products that contain asbestos isn’t a danger, as long as the asbestos is enclosed. This prevents the fibers from getting into the air.
If you smoke, quit. Smoking greatly increases your risk of lung cancer if you have pleural plaque, pleural effusion, or asbestosis. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking. Also, try to avoid secondhand smoke.
If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. Many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoking.
For more information about how to quit smoking, go to the Health Topics Smoking and Your Heart article and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s “Your Guide to a Healthy Heart.” Although these resources focus on heart health, they include general information about how to quit smoking.
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.