Asbestos fibers, when inhaled, can cause a number of diseases, including mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and other cancers.
What Are Asbestos Fibers?
Certain minerals crystallize very uniquely; they form thousands and thousands of copies of the same small, thin fiber. Asbestos fibers are thin to the point of being microscopic and very useful for several industrial purposes. Asbestos fibers are heat-resistant, durable, and fairly common. Unfortunately, they are also very dangerous when inhaled by human beings.
These dangerous fibers come from the asbestiform versions of several minerals:
What Happens When Fibers Are Inhaled?
Surgical specimens from mesothelioma cancer patients have shown asbestos fibers still trapped in the tissues of the lungs, pleura, and/or mesothelium. Once inhaled, the fibers tend to accumulate in the following areas of the body:
- In the thoracic cavity
- Near the bottom lobes of the lungs
- On the surface of the diaphragm
In some patients, biopsy tissue shows that the fibers reach the intrapleural space or the mesothelial lining of the intrapleural space. Although this state is known as “clearing of the lungs,” it is still a life-threatening condition.
How Do Asbestos Fibers Affect Tissue?
The finding that asbestos fibers could be “cleared” from the lungs where they first became lodged led to two theories about how asbestos fibers cause diseases:
- Asbestos fibers pierce the tissue of the pleural space, damaging the tissue and resulting in an inflammatory immune response.
- DNA and cell replication can actually be disturbed by a fiber. Asbestos fibers are so small that they can affect a cell on a molecular level.
These are still theories; the true process of asbestos disease development is not yet known. However, it is definitely clear that inhaling asbestos fibers is linked to disease.
Find Out More About Asbestos Fibers’ Damage
If mesothelioma is the diagnosis for you or your family member, it’s a good idea to learn all that you can about your medical and legal options from a qualified lawyer. You may have been exposed to asbestos fibers in the workplace or home, and an attorney can review your options with you. Contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers today to arrange a private consultation.