The use of asbestos in products was extremely prevalent during much of the twentieth century. Unfortunately, as a result of this, exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers was also common. For some individuals, this exposure led to the development of serious diseases. While mesothelioma is often the disease most associated with asbestos fiber exposure, there are other very serious diseases that can develop, as well.
Dangers of Asbestos
Asbestos was used in residences and buildings up until the 1980s because of its resistance to heat. While asbestos was very well-suited for the jobs it was asked to complete, it also was very dangerous to people exposed to its fibers. These microscopic fibers are released into the air when asbestos is disturbed. When breathed in, they may remain in the lungs for years or, in some cases, decades, before the signs of a health issue begin to appear. While asbestos is no longer used today, it still can be found in homes and other buildings, particularly in older structures.
Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers and involves scarring of the lung tissue. It can lead to a greater risk of the development of lung cancer, particularly if the individual also smokes. The symptoms of asbestosis usually do not appear for many years after the exposure. Those symptoms include shortness of breath, a persistent, dry cough, loss of appetite, fingertips and toes becoming wider and rounder than normal (a condition called clubbing), and chest tightness or pain.
Pleural effusion is the development of excess fluid building up in the pleural space, which is the area between the lungs and the chest wall. While usually pleural effusion is not a serious health threat by itself, it may be an indication of a more serious problem. This is because pleural effusion may be caused by cancer. Further, there are some instances of pleural effusion which require treatment to avoid the development of other issues. The symptoms of pleural effusion include shortness of breath, chest pain, fever, and cough.
Pleural effusion that is free of serious inflammation or infection and that rarely causes permanent lung problems is known as uncomplicated pleural effusion. Alternatively, complicated pleural effusion involves significant inflammation or infection. If left untreated, it can lead to the fluid hardening into a constricting ring around the lung through a process called “organization.” This can cause a permanent impairment to the individual’s ability to breathe. To avoid this issue, draining of the fluid is required, which usually involves the placing of a tube in the chest.
Help for Victims of Asbestos Exposure
The above briefly discusses just two of the conditions the health issues that can result as a consequence of exposure to asbestos fibers. If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, it is possible that you are facing significant medical costs. It may be possible for you to obtain compensation from those responsible for you exposure to asbestos. For more information about recovering for asbestos exposure and asbestos related cancers, speak with an experienced attorney at the Throneberry Law Group.