Even though the dangers of asbestos are well-known, as exposure to asbestos becomes less frequent the symptoms may be misdiagnosed more often. It is possible that some people who might be successfully treated instead suffer and become worse. That’s why it is important to understand the symptoms associated with asbestos exposure, which can cause certain forms of cancer and asbestosis.
What is Asbestosis?
This is a version of pulmonary fibrosis where the lungs are scarred by the presence of asbestos over a long period. It is not cancer per say, but it does have the same root cause as many asbestos-type cancers, including mesothelioma. The cause is usually a long-term exposure to asbestos which is still present at construction sites, industrial facilities, and ships. It should be noted that long-term exposure generally comes from indoor conditions, even though asbestos can also be found in nature.
Identifying the symptoms of asbestosis are not easy because there are other respiratory conditions that have similar symptoms. Common symptoms of long-term exposure include, but are not limited to the following:
- Shortness of Breath & Crackling Sound
- Persistent Dry Coughing
- Tightness & Pain in the Chest
- Loss of Weight, Appetite, & Fatigue
More advanced symptoms may include pulmonary hypertension, which can be quite dangerous if not correctly identified. It may lead to heart attack, stroke, and coronary artery disease. Another symptom is the clubbing of fingers and toes, where the tips appear wider and rounder than they should. This occurs because the blood flow is not reaching the extremities properly and signals an issue with the delivery of oxygen in the body.
Because other, less severe illnesses also carry many of the same symptoms, it is important to consider if the person suffering has been exposed to asbestos. This means going into their work history and where they have lived, and having the proper tests run if exposure is suspected. Keep in mind that symptoms may not appear until ten or even twenty plus years of exposure.
While there is no cure, if asbestosis is caught early, the symptoms can be treated. However, it can be difficult for physicians to correctly diagnose the issue unless they understand that the patient has been exposed to asbestos. Although the presence of asbestos has been greatly reduced since it was restricted in the 1970s, there are still about 1,000 Americans who are diagnosed with medical issues related to asbestos.
Therefore, removal of the asbestos from all facilities, homes, and businesses is vital to the health of those who live or work inside. If you or someone you know is exhibiting one or more symptoms of asbestos exposure and suspect that your home or workplace may have asbestos present, contact the experts at Brinkley Environmental. They have the experience, skills, and equipment to inspect, locate, and remove asbestos from the premises in a safe manner.