Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos fibers commonly enter the body through the breathing motion. These fibers can become trapped in the mucous membrane of the nose and throat where they can be removed. Fibers can be found in other areas of the body, such as the lungs and digestive tract. So, which diseases are asbestos-related?

Asbestos-Related Diseases

Asbestos is in its most hazardous form when it is friable, meaning easily crumbled by hand. In this form, the asbestos releases fibers into the air. Sprayed-on asbestos, for example, is highly friable. Asbestos-containing floor tiles, ceiling tiles, shingles and fire doors, among others, will not release fibers unless they are disturbed in some way.

1. Asbestosis

This is a serious, chronic and non-cancerous respiratory disease that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Inhaled asbestos fibers will aggravate lung tissues, eventually causing scars over time. Asbestosis symptoms include dry crackling sounds in the lungs when inhaling and shortness of breath.

Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for Asbestosis, which is typically disabling or fatal. Individuals renovating or demolishing an old home or building are at-risk, depending, of course, on the amount of exposure and precautions taken.

Facts About Asbestosis:

  • Asbestosis can cause a thickening of the membranes that cover the lungs.
  • Asbestosis causes trouble breathing.
  • Doctors can diagnose this disease using CT scans and chest x-rays.

*Facts according to MerckManuals

2. Mesothelioma

A rare form of cancer, Mesothelioma most often occurs in the membrane lining of the lungs, abdomen, chest and heart. Nearly 3,000 cases are recorded each year in the U.S. Virtually all reported cases are caused by the exposure to asbestos. Approximately two percent of all miners and textile workers, and 10 percent of workers involved in manufacturing asbestos-containing gas masks that are exposed to asbestos, will contract Mesothelioma.

Individuals working in the following fields have an increased risk of this disease: Manufacturing and installing asbestos insulation, asbestos mines, shipyards, asbestos mills and factories. Anyone living close to these facilities that have found asbestos can also be at-risk. Large quantities of airborne asbestos fibers pose many health risks.

Facts About Mesothelioma:

  • 19,011 cases of Mesothelioma were recorded from 2003-2008 in the U.S., according to the NIH.
  • Mesothelioma accounts for less than 0.3% of all cancer diagnoses in the U.S.
  • There are four types of this disease, including pleural, pericardial, testicular and peritoneal.

*Facts according to Asbestos

3. Lung Cancer

Lung cancer undoubtedly causes the biggest number of asbestos-related deaths. The number of lung cancer cases is much higher for people involved in manufacturing, mining and milling than the general population.

Additionally, individuals who have been exposed to asbestos and some other carcinogen, such as cigarette smoke, have a significantly higher risk of developing lung cancer.

Facts About Lung Cancer:

  • This is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide.
  • 1 in 6 people will be diagnosed with lung cancer over their lifetime.
  • Lung cancer kills nearly 3 times as many men as prostate cancer.

*Facts according to LungCancerResearch.

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