Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that was commonly used in building materials like flooring and tile until it caused widespread bans in the early 80s. Although asbestos is still found regularly in other materials, such as cement pipe insulation and brake linings, it has been known to cause health problems since the 1970s when asbestos was discovered to be harmful to humans.
Asbestos exposure is a known health risk to millions of people, especially those in construction and manufacturing. However, how does this affect your body and what are the potential long term effects? Let’s find out.
Health Implications of Asbestos Exposure
It is estimated that one in four people with mesothelioma will die within a year of diagnosis. Some individuals may develop asbestosis, also known as asbestosis pleural, after exposure to asbestos for only a few months or years. Others may develop lung cancer or mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos for decades.
Many countries banned the use of this mineral and implemented the safety regulations for handling and disposing of asbestos to avoid its related diseases to the general public. It’s mandated that employers must provide their workers with proper training on handling asbestos safely and properly disposing of old materials containing asbestos fibers.
The health implications of asbestos exposure include:
Shortness of Breath
Asbestos exposure can make you short of breath, which is called asbestosis. Asbestosis is a disease caused by long-term asbestos exposure, and it can lead to chronic coughing. The most common symptom of this condition is chest discomfort or pain that worsens when you take a deep breath and increases when you lie down.
Chronic cough often becomes worse at night, so you may have difficulty sleeping. You may also notice a whistling sound during your coughs or wheezing noises when you breathe in deeply. Chronic cough can be painful, especially if it causes you to lose your voice.
Pain in The Chest
The chest pain associated with asbestosis typically occurs after prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers. These are mostly found in insulation materials, fireproofing agents, and brake pads used on automobiles made with asbestos fibers. This pain may also be felt in other parts of the body, such as shoulder blades or back, but chest discomfort is usually worse than different types of pain.
You may feel exhausted after long periods of exposure. This fatigue is often accompanied by joint pain and muscle weakness. . This is because your body has been working overtime to deal with the stress and pressure you are putting it under.
Notable Weight loss
Asbestos exposure can cause significant weight loss. It’s not uncommon for people who worked in factories that produced products with asbestos to lose as much as 20 pounds within days of inhaling the dust while working.
Swelling on the Neck or Face
Asbestos fibers may lodge in your throat or lungs, causing swelling around your windpipe or other areas of your face and neck. These swellings are known as pleural plaques, leading to breathing difficulties and even death if left untreated.
Chronic laryngitis is a condition that develops due to a build-up of mucus in the throat and lungs. Asbestos fibers can remain in your lungs for years after you are exposed to them. As a result, they can cause damage to your lungs and throat over time. These fibers can clog up your airways, leading to difficulty breathing and breathing problems.
Asbestos exposure is a serious issue, and it can strike anytime. You can stay safe by arming yourself with the right knowledge and precautions. If you’ve been exposed to asbestos, it’s important to monitor your health going forward and limit any asbestos exposure that you can