Asbestos poisoning is a risk to humans when an asbestos-containing material breaks down or is somehow disturbed. When asbestos deteriorates or is otherwise disturbed, its microscopic fibers are released into the air, where they can remain suspended for hours to days. The poisoning can happen to anyone in the area who breathes in these fibers. Asbestos poisoning can happen to a person working around asbestos or even family members that are consistently exposed to the asbestos that come home on a worker’s clothing, hair, and skin.
Inhaling Asbestos Fibers
A single human hair is about 1,200 times thicker than an asbestos fiber. When there is a tremendous amount of asbestos fibers in the air, they might be noticeable as a cloud of dust, but plenty of asbestos fibers can be present in the air with no visible signs.
Many people have inhaled asbestos fibers, sometimes on a daily basis for years, without even knowing it because the symptoms of asbestos poisoning have yet to show up.
Life-Threatening Cancer Diseases from Asbestos Poisoning
Asbestos poisoning can result in a multitude of serious, even fatal, conditions including:
- Asbestosis, a scarring of the lung tissue that severely hinders breathing and can be fatal
- Lung cancers, both small-cell and non-small-cell
- Mesothelioma, a cancer of the mesothelium or pericardium, tissues inside the chest cavity
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Immune system damage
- Other types of respiratory and digestive damage
Asbestos Poisoning Symptoms
The asbestos poisoning symptoms usually don’t appear until years after the asbestos fibers are inhaled. It’s generally 10 to 40 years later that the victims of asbestos poisoning start exhibiting symptoms such as (but not limited to):
- A mass in the abdomen
- Abdominal pain or swelling
- Chest wall pain or pain under the rib cage
- Fatigue and anemia
- Hoarseness and wheezing
- Pleural effusion (fluid around a lung)
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
By the time the asbestos poisoning symptoms become apparent, the damage has already been done. Unfortunately, the symptoms of asbestos poisoning often mimic those of other medical maladies, increasing the chances of misdiagnoses. With an attorney knowledgeable about asbestos poisoning, individuals have an opportunity to seek out compensation for the actual asbestos poisoning symptoms. This compensation can help a victim pay the costs for treatment of the illness caused by exposure to asbestos. Pleural effusion, for example, often requires multiple visits with a medical specialist and, in some cases, hospitalization.
If you are experiencing symptoms of asbestos cancer, seek medical attention immediately, and contact Mesothelioma Treatment Centers for information about helpful resources. This includes information about various treatment options available, more details about the signs of asbestos poisoning, and legal advice from an experienced lawyer.