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Mesothelioma | Other Asbestos-Related Diseases – Asbestosis

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In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to airborne asbestos fibers increases the risk of two other major diseases: asbestosis and lung cancer. Asbestos-related diseases can take decades to develop, often manifesting after retirement from an industrial career that involved asbestos exposure. Governmental regulation of asbestos has tightened significantly since the 1970s, so asbestos exposure has been greatly reduced.

Asbestosis

If you have a history of asbestos exposure, you may be at risk for asbestosis, a noncancerous respiratory disease caused when microscopic shards of threadlike asbestos fibers are breathed into the lungs and become lodged. The body excretes acid in response to the foreign object, causing scarring or fibrosis that stiffens the lung tissue, restricting its ability to expand and contract with breathing.

Asbestosis Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, weakness, respiratory infection, coughing up blood, hoarseness, swelling of fingers and other extremities, nail abnormalities, insomnia, loss of appetite, weight loss, crackly breathing, and chest pain and tightness. Complications can include heart problems like congestive heart failure, high blood pressure and fluid buildup.

To diagnose asbestosis, doctors may perform pulmonary function tests, blood tests, CT scans and/or x-rays. The disease is not reversible, but its progression can be slowed and symptoms treated. Treatments include medication, oxygen, breathing therapy, chest percussion and fluid draining. Exercise can increase lung capacity and a humidifier can ease symptoms. Effort should be made to prevent infections and colds. In rare cases, patients undergo lung transplants.

Asbestosis Statistics

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s division of Respiratory Disease Studies issued a report on asbestosis in the US:

  • Highest rates of asbestosis deaths were in Washington, Maine, West Virginia, Mississippi, Delaware and New Jersey
  • Most victims were white males with a median age of 74
  • Most common victims’ occupations were plumbers, pipe fitters, steamfitters and insulation workers
  • Most common victims’ industries were construction, shipbuilding and repair, industrial and miscellaneous chemicals, and railroads

Seek Help

If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestosis or lung cancer and have a history of asbestos exposure, contact Throneberry Law Group at 888-506-1131 to speak with a skilled asbestos attorney.

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