After many years of in depth research and studies on humans, the medical field has found that the health risks associated with asbestos exposure can lead to many complications and sometimes fatal diseases.Because asbestos is hard to detect by the average person, many people unintentionally inhale asbestos fibers that can accumulate in the lungs. The accumulation of these microscopic and hazardous particles increases your risk of getting ill. Below are the three most common diseases caused by high exposure to asbestos.
During exposure to asbestos, the small fibers inhaled get stuck within the lungs. If the body is not able get rid of the fibers naturally then lung irritation and scarring can occur. This typically leads to Asbestosis, a pulmonary fibrosis caused by the lungs trying to repair damage. Patients with Asbestosis experience a lot of difficulty breathing and swallowing. Over time, the excessive scar tissue from the lodged pieces of asbestos fibers, can reduce lung function and eventually fail to deliver proper amounts of oxygen to the patient’s body. When the body is unable circulate enough oxygen, it can lead to lung and/or heart failure.
Doctors diagnose about 3,000 cases of mesothelioma every year in the United States. This is the most serious of all asbestos related diseases. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer that affects the lungs and the abdomen. Asbestos exposure in the number one cause for this dangerous disease. In its early stages, the disease is sometimes difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are like other respiratory illnesses.The symptoms include: chest pain, chronic cough and presence of blood in the lung fluid. When the asbestos fibers are inhaled or swallowed, they accumulate in the lining of the lungs and/or abdomen. Over time they create a connective tissue cause cell damage which results in tumor growth. Doctors have no found a cure for mesothelioma, only treatments that will help increase the patient’s life expectancy.
The US Department of Health and Human services and the EPA have classified Asbestos as a known human carcinogen or most commonly know as “a substance that causes cancer”. Lung cancer is has the most reported deaths compared to other cancers. Although asbestos related lung cancer is rare, an estimated 4,800 lung cancer deaths were linked to exposure to asbestos. The problem with the health effects of asbestos exposure is that complications or symptoms don’t develop until many years after exposure. In most cases, patients hadn’t been exposed to asbestos for over 15 to 30 years. Since so much time has passed, diseases like lung cancer or mesothelioma are diagnosed at a very late stage.
The truth is that asbestos exist all around us. It’s a natural mineral that releases fibers into the air we breathe. It’s likely that you already have or will be exposed to some level of asbestos in the future. There are some factors that help you understand how asbestos exposure can affect human health.
Factors that increase risk of developing asbestos related Diseases:
- Where the asbestos was inhaled from
- If exposed to a dangerous level of asbestos, how long did the exposure last? Days? Weeks? Years?
- How much asbestos was the person exposed to at a time
- The shape and size of the asbestos fiber inhaled
- The form of asbestos and the chemical makeup of its fibers
If you believe you are exposed to high levels of asbestos, contact a licensed environmental testing company and get your area checked immediately.