It is not always easy to know whether you have been exposed to asbestos, especially since asbestos-related diseases usually have a long latency period. In other words, it can be several decades after coming into contact with asbestos at work or home before you find out you have an asbestos-related disease.
Asbestos is a mineral that occurs in nature. It was immensely popular and used in many industries and applications in the 20th century due to its heat resistant properties. Asbestos was extensively used in insulation, building materials, cement, plastic, cloth, and many other substances. However, asbestos is highly toxic. Once a person breathes in and ingests its fibers, they can have health problems and illnesses, such as progressive lung diseases and devastating cancers.
Who Is at Risk
Working in certain industries is said to have exposed workers to significant amounts of asbestos in previous years. If you have worked in the following fields, for example, you may have come into contact with significant amounts of asbestos:
- Drywalling and insulation
- Painting and decorating
- Flooring installation
- Car manufacturing
Those who encountered asbestos in the workplace may have a significant risk of developing asbestos-related diseases. In some instances, even the family of workers in these industries may be at a higher risk for illnesses, as asbestos fibers can travel on the worker’s skin, hair, and clothing of a worker.
Signs and Symptoms of Asbestos-Related Disease
One way you can know if you have been exposed to asbestos is if you develop an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma or asbestosis. Warning signs and symptoms that present with asbestos-related diseases can include:
Shortness of Breath
Tiny asbestos fibers can lodge themselves deep into your lungs if you breathe them in. Over time, the presence of these asbestos fibers can cause scar tissue and inflammation in the lungs. Shortness of breath is a symptom of various asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Unexplained fatigue can be a sign of an asbestos-related illness, especially when it occurs with other symptoms, such as a cough, shortness of breath, or unexplained weight loss. When these symptoms occur together, they can point to mesothelioma or lung cancer.
If you develop wheezing and do not have asthma, you may have an asbestos-related disease. Wheezing can indicate inflammation in the lungs. A wheezing or crackling sound when breathing can be a sign that you have come into contact with asbestos in previous years.
Having a dry cough that does not get better over time can also indicate asbestos exposure at some earlier time. Asbestos exposure can lead to scar tissue forming in the lungs, leading to a chronic dry cough many years or decades after the actual exposure happened.
If you have recently developed one or several of these symptoms, you may want to promptly seek medical advice. While there can be other health conditions presenting similar symptoms, seeing a doctor can help you rule out a serious condition. Also, consider if the symptoms you are experiencing stem from an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or lung cancer. Catching cancer early can be advantageous.
Some diseases are almost always an indication that an individual has been exposed to asbestos at some point in their lives, whether unknowingly or knowingly. These illnesses include mesothelioma and asbestosis. Mesothelioma of the lung is the most common form of mesothelioma, according to the Mayo Clinic. Unfortunately, there is to date no cure for mesothelioma. Life expectancy, once the disease is in an advanced stage, tends to be poor.
There are also cancers and other illnesses that have a proven or suspected link to asbestos, which include:
- Lung cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Colon cancer
- Pleural thickening
- Pleural effusion
It is important to note that exposure, even to a small amount of asbestos, can potentially cause debilitating and life-threatening illnesses. Sometimes, sufferers of these medical conditions do not remember any asbestos exposure, or they may have unwittingly used a product that contained tiny amounts of asbestos, such as baby powder. If you have developed an asbestos-related disease, you most likely came into contact with asbestos at some point. This could mean you could have legal recourse.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 794-0444
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm Now for Help
Asbestos can cause debilitating diseases that can cause great suffering and a shortened life span. However, in many cases, fighting a deadly cancer or progressive lung disease can also cause financial hardship for families, with medical bills piling up. If you have developed an asbestos-related disease and do not know where to turn for help, contact us. You may have legal recourse and could recover financial awards.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today for a free consultation with one of our team members at (800) 217-6099.