Asbestos exposure has numerous health risks. In its natural state, asbestos is not harmful. However, once the strands are separated into loose fibers, they become extremely toxic. The loose fibers are durable and strong, yet microscopic. They get caught in the wind and can be easily inhaled.
Once inhaled, the toxic asbestos fibers can accumulate in the chest, stomach and lining of the heart. Because of their strength, the fibers do not break down over time, but instead work their way into the tissue, causing irritation. Consequently, asbestos health risks include mesothelioma cancer, asbestosis and lung cancer.
Mesothelioma cancer is perhaps the deadliest of all asbestos health risks. It is a rare form of cancer that is a direct result of asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma attacks the mesothelium, or the protective lining of the body’s vital organs and can take up to 50 years to develop. There are three forms of mesothelioma cancer caused by asbestos exposure:
- Pleural mesothelioma: This form of mesothelioma cancer is the most common out of the three types. It is found in the lining of the lungs, or the pleura. The symptoms include: uncontrollable coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, weight loss and fluid in the lungs. Because the symptoms resemble those of the common cold or bronchitis, it is usually detected at a time that it is too late to treat.
- Peritoneal mesothelioma: This is the second most common form of the cancer, attacking the peritoneum or the lining of the stomach. Most of the symptoms are similar to those of pleural mesothelioma, but sufferers experience fluid in the abdomen and loss of appetite.
- Pericardial mesothelioma: This form of the cancer develops when asbestos fibers embed themselves in the outer lining of the heart. While this is the rarest form, only accounting for 10 percent of all cases, it is just as fatal.
Asbestosis is another asbestos health risk and occurs when an individual inhales high levels of asbestos. The strong, wire-like fibers lodge themselves into the chest cavity and cause scarring. After a period of time, the scarring restricts the normal function of the lungs, causing the patient to have difficulty breathing on their own.
Lung cancer is also a serious asbestos health risk. Individuals should not smoke if they have been exposed to asbestos, as cigarette smoke increases the risk for developing lung cancer.
Contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers
If you have been diagnosed with one of these asbestos cancer illnesses, contact mesothelioma treatment centers today to learn more about your options for financing your treatment. You may be entitled to compensation.