Asbestosis is a fibrosis of the lungs caused by asbestos. The term asbestosis is sometimes used as a term for other asbestos conditions but medically this is incorrect.
Asbestosis usually develops 20 years or more after exposure to asbestos. It can develop sooner where someone has been exposed to very high levels of asbestos however.
Far more exposure to asbestos is required to cause asbestosis than pleural plaques, pleural thickening or mesothelioma. Asbestosis is usually a progressive disease which can cause increasing breathlessness and cough as it progresses. Typically the disease is more extensive the more asbestos you have been exposed to.
Asbestosis can remain stable for many years causing little disability though. The risk of developing other asbestos conditions rises when someone is diagnosed with asbestosis because of the high levels of asbestos they must have been exposed to in order to develop the condition. The risks arise out of the exposure to asbestos and not the presence of asbestosis.
Compensation for asbestosis depends on the extent of the symptoms it is causing and benefits are also available.