Asbestosis Causes

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers over an extended period. Exposure to asbestos occurs in occupational settings like construction, shipbuilding, or manufacturing, and environmentally in areas with asbestos-containing materials like old buildings, insulation, or natural deposits. If you develop asbestosis, you may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and dry cough.

Asbestosis Causes

Asbestosis Causes and Exposure

Asbestosis is an irreversible lung disease caused by repeated exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring carcinogen. The asbestosis causes stem from military service and working in industries involving asbestos products. You can develop asbestosis when you inhale or ingest airborne asbestos fibers from damaged or disturbed asbestos-containing materials. If you live in an older home, asbestos may be found in various materials, such as attic and wall insulation, some vinyl flooring, textured paint, or roofing shingles.

Although asbestosis is relatively rare, there’s about 3,000 new cases each year and people who contract the disease often don’t find out until much much later. The likelihood of developing asbestos-related diseases increases with the intensity and duration of exposure. Veterans who served in the Navy or worked in shipyards may have faced exposure to toxins, including asbestos, due to the widespread use of asbestos-containing materials in naval vessels until the 1970s. In this article, we will review the asbestosis causes, specifically thorough the eyes of a veteran and the family members of one.

Asbestos-Related Health Risks

Asbestos exposure can cause various lung issues and abnormalities, including pleuritis, pleural plaques, and pleural thickening. These conditions involve inflammation, scarring, or calcification of the membrane surrounding the lungs (pleura). Some studies suggest an association between asbestos exposure and an increased risk of ovarian cancer and cancers of the esophagus, stomach, and colon. If you were exposed to asbestos in the military or at work, you may face certain health risks, such as:

Lung cancer: Long-term exposure to asbestos increases your risk of developing lung cancer. Similar to the mesothelioma timeline, asbestos-related lung cancer typically occurs many years after initial exposure. You may experience symptoms such as cough, chest pain, and difficulty breathing. Long term exposure may have come from inhaling fibers while out in the field or due to mishandling a product that was manufactured with asbestos.

Mesothelioma: Asbestos exposure can also cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer affecting the lining of the lungs, abdomen, heart, and in very rare cases, the testicles. Mesothelioma symptoms typically appear decades after initial asbestos exposure and often mimic those of lung cancer. Because of this, doctors and other medical professionals can accidentally misdiagnose mesothelioma because of its similarities and rarity. It’s always best to seek a second opinion whenever dealing with a diagnosis of this level.

Most workplaces and the military have established safety measures to minimize asbestos exposure on barracks and commercial sites. These precautions could include personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, respirators, gloves, and coveralls, in environments with elevated exposure risks. Before asbestos regulations, some companies ignored the health risks, neglecting to equip personnel with proper safety gear and eventually contributing to a higher incidence of illnesses.

If you have Asbestosis, you could have Mesothelioma. Speak with a patient advocate today.

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Gdansk military port.

Can Asbestosis Be Cured?

No, there is currently no cure for asbestosis. This is because asbestos fibers, once inhaled, lodge themselves deep within your lungs and cause permanent scarring. This scarring (fibrosis) disrupts the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. This scarring can’t be repaired, however, there are several ways to manage asbestosis and improve your quality of life and alleviate certain symptoms and slow disease progression. Your doctor may prescribe medications to address symptoms and make your life a bit easier on a day to day level in terms of pain. Asbestosis does cause shortness of breath and coughing, so mindful breathing exercises can help return your breath.

Other treatment options, such as oxygen therapy, may be recommended to improve your breathing and oxygen levels. There is not a universally standardized staging system for asbestosis, but healthcare professionals determine the severity of your case by performing tests and a clinical evaluation. In contrast with the mesothelioma staging system, a common approach includes categorizing asbestosis into stages such as mild, moderate, and severe based on clinical findings.

Asbestosis Prevention and Safety Measures

While there is no cure for asbestosis, early detection plays a role in managing the condition effectively. When your doctor intervenes promptly, they can provide appropriate medical care and implement strategies to manage symptoms and get a head start on the fight against. If you have a known history of asbestos exposure, regular health check-ups and monitoring are important components of early intervention. Diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function tests, X-rays, CT scans, and a detailed medical history, aid in early detection. Through the VA or a local hospital, veterans can seek services related to asbestosis causes of diagnosis.

As a patient with asbestosis, an early diagnosis not only facilitates timely medical attention but also offers you the chance to make positive lifestyle changes. This may involve quitting smoking and minimizing further asbestos exposure to prevent additional damage to the lungs. Adopting a healthier diet and incorporating regular exercise can also enhance your overall respiratory health.

Asbestosis Causes and Asbestos-Related Illnesses

Veterans face a range of health risks, often stemming from their military service. Cancers and diseases among military personnel can arise due to various factors, including exposure to environmental hazards, occupational risks, and genetic mutations. Asbestosis is just one of several diseases associated with asbestos exposure in the military. Other significant health conditions linked to asbestos exposure include:

Mesothelioma: a cancer that affects the mesothelial lining of organs, often linked to asbestos exposure most likely encountered overseas in dilapidated buildings or buying products made with these fibers. While asbestosis involves lung fibrosis, mesothelioma manifests as tumors on the pleura (lining around the lungs) and other organs.

Pneumoconiosis: a group of lung diseases caused by inhaling various types of mineral dust, including asbestos. Silicosis, caused by inhaling silica dust, and coal worker’s pneumoconiosis, associated with coal dust exposure, are examples within this category. These conditions, like asbestosis, lead to lung fibrosis and impaired respiratory function.

Interstitial Lung Disease: various lung disorders characterized by inflammation and scarring of the lung tissue. Some types, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, exhibit similarities to asbestosis in terms of fibrotic lung changes and impaired respiratory function.

Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis: an inflammatory lung disease caused by inhaling various organic dusts, molds, or chemicals. While different in causation, it shares common symptoms of asbestosis, including cough, shortness of breath, and fibrotic lung changes.

Veterans and former industrial workers may be entitled to compensation for asbestos-related illnesses, especially if the exposure occurred during military service or employment. Seeking professional advice from legal experts familiar with asbestos litigation ensures that individuals understand their rights, explore potential compensation avenues, and navigate legal processes effectively. If you have any inclinations that you may have been exposed during your service time, we can help connect you to legal and medical resources to seek compensation and treatment. OUr patient advocates are ready for trial and have over 100 years of legal experience. Let us know how we can help you and your family today.