Severe asbestosis can lead to respiratory failure and eventually death, but treatments may help to slow the progression of the disease. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, many people can live with asbestosis for a decade or more. In fact, many people with asbestosis die from other causes. This may include other diseases caused by asbestos exposure, such as lung cancer or mesothelioma.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, about 50% of all adults who had exposure to asbestos at work will develop asbestosis.
Understanding Asbestosis and Its Development
Asbestos is mainly composed of silicon and oxygen that occur naturally as bundles of fibers. When people inhale asbestos, these fibers become deeply embedded into the lung tissue and cause irritation. Asbestosis occurs when the asbestos fibers damage the tissue and lead to excessive scarring (fibrosis) in the lungs.
Research shows that this type of fibrosis continues and progresses regardless of whether or not exposure continues. This means that exposure, even for a limited time early in your career, could still lead to the development of asbestos-related illnesses. The heavier the exposure, the more likely you are to develop serious symptoms later in life.
Problems caused by asbestosis include:
- Reduced lung volume
- Stiffening of the lungs requiring more effort for a full breath
- Progressively labored breathing
- Small airway disease
Doctors may be able to spot changes in the lungs of someone with asbestosis less than 20 years after their asbestos exposure. This is possible using x-rays or other medical imaging. However, most people do not develop noticeable symptoms for 20 to 40 years after their initial exposure to the deadly material.
Those with asbestosis should undergo monitoring for signs of other asbestos-related conditions, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. It is important to note, however, that you do not need to be diagnosed with asbestosis to develop mesothelioma or another asbestos-related lung cancer.
Asbestosis Treatment to Slow the Progression
The American Lung Association outlines a treatment plan for those with asbestosis that doctors use to slow the progression of the disease and relieve symptoms. By using these treatments, it may be possible to extend how long you can live with asbestosis, as well as improve the quality of life during this time.
Relieving symptoms can go a long way toward allowing the patient to remain active. Preventing complications is also important since any illness that affects the lungs could be dangerous. Your doctor will likely recommend getting the seasonal flu and pneumonia shot if you have asbestosis.
Other steps in the asbestosis treatment regimen may include prescribing supplemental oxygen and rehabilitation to help improve lung volume and efficiency. In some cases, people with asbestosis may qualify for a lung transplant. There is no cure that can reverse the damage done by asbestos. Your doctor can only prescribe treatment to slow its advancement and ease your breathing.
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An Asbestosis Diagnosis May Qualify You for Compensation
If you received an asbestosis diagnosis, you may qualify to file a claim and pursue an award to help pay for your medical care, pain and suffering, and other losses. Because of the lawsuits related to asbestos exposure, many asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy. As a result, the courts made them create asbestos trust funds.
These trust funds ensure people with asbestos-related conditions today can still recover compensation for their injuries. No matter how long it has been since your exposure to these dangerous fibers, the companies that profited from your work should cover your treatment and other expenses. Several companies have made trust funds to cover the cost of those affected with asbestos-related illnesses, and there are currently billions of dollars between them.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer About Pursuing an Award Today
The attorneys from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm know how to pursue an asbestos case, whether it is based on asbestosis, mesothelioma, or another exposure-related condition. We do not shy away from tough cases and fight for the awards we believe our clients deserve.
When you partner with us to pursue compensation, we will handle your case on a contingency-fee-basis. You will pay nothing upfront and nothing out of your pocket. We only get our fee once you receive the settlement or award check from your case.
We offer free consultations. Call (800) 794-0444 now to talk to a member of our team.