A study published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology contained data that indicates that asbestos exposure could increase your risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD. While there is no proof of a direct relationship between these asbestos fibers and this condition, it is known to occur in people with moderate to heavy asbestos exposure. However, many of these people are also smokers. Mayo Clinic reports that smoking is a primary cause of COPD.
When COPD occurs in those with a history of asbestos exposure, it likely plays at least a small role. It certainly does not do anything to make them less susceptible to COPD and other pulmonary conditions. The above study points toward a link between COPD and asbestos but encourages more research to prove COPD is caused by asbestos.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a progressive and potentially deadly disease that affects a person’s ability to breathe. According to Mayo Clinic, it is another term for the combination of two other conditions, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Together, these conditions cause many symptoms and can affect different people in different ways. In general, symptoms may include:
- Productive coughs with excessive mucus
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Chest tightness
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, these symptoms occur because of a number of problems that may develop in someone with a COPD diagnosis which may include any or all of these concerns:
- The windpipe, lungs, and other tissue becomes less elastic
- The air sacs are no longer flexible
- Damage occurs to the walls between the air sacs
- Airway walls thicken and become inflamed
- The body produces excess mucus, causing clogs
Like many asbestos-related conditions, COPD develops slowly and only shows symptoms as it gets worse. As a progressive condition, it will worsen and limit more and more of the person’s activities. At its most advanced stages, some people cannot walk or provide basic care for themselves.
Causes of COPD
Most cases of COPD are likely preventable if the person avoids the lung irritants that generally cause the disease. In the majority of people who receive a COPD diagnosis, smoking some form of tobacco, either cigarettes, a pipe, or cigars. Medical News Today reports that 20-30% of COPD cases occur in people who do not smoke and never smoked.
Many people who receive a diagnosis of an asbestos-related condition were or are smokers, as well. Smoking and asbestos exposure together can increase the likelihood of many pulmonary conditions over the risk associated with either smoking or asbestos exposure. This may be the case with COPD, although that is unknown at this time.
Many researchers do believe there may be a link between COPD and other lung irritants besides cigarette smoke. This may include air pollution, chemical fumes from work or other sources, inhalation of certain fine dust, and potentially asbestos fibers.
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You May Be Eligible to File an Asbestos Claim
In most cases, a COPD diagnosis may not be enough to recover a settlement or award from an asbestos trust fund. You will need to show strong evidence that your asbestos exposure increased your risk and played a causative role in your condition. Alternatively, you may be able to base your case on another diagnosis, such as asbestosis or an asbestos-related lung cancer.
The best way to learn about the strength of your case and your legal options is to discuss your case with an attorney who regularly takes on cases in the asbestos mass tort. You may be able to recover an award to help pay for your treatment, expenses, and pain and suffering if you can prove you have an asbestos-related condition and suffered exposure to asbestos.
If you suffered lung damage because of your asbestos exposure at work or elsewhere, your family should not have to foot the bill. The asbestos company responsible should cover those costs.
Discuss Your Case with an Asbestos Lawyer Today
The asbestos attorneys from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm will not shy away from tough cases. It may be difficult to prove you have COPD caused by asbestos exposure. We will review your case for free and explain if we believe you can recover a settlement or award.
We handle these cases on a contingency basis. Our clients pay nothing out of pocket, and there are no upfront fees. Our firm only gets paid after we receive the check for the payout we recovered on your behalf.
Call (800) 217-6099 now to discuss your case with a member of our asbestos mass tort team today.