Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has many uses. Those in the construction industry mix asbestos in cement and some roofing compounds. Those who take care of electrical wiring use asbestos for insulation.
For sure, asbestos has a lot of uses. But this doesn’t mean that it’s safe. This mineral has been linked to a number of diseases, some of which we’re going to discuss shortly. Because of this, asbestos has been the subject of a lot of legislative regulations.
In spite of such efforts, there are still cases of asbestos exposure which lead to the two of the most common asbestos-related diseases discussed here.
On the microscopic level, asbestos is a fibrous mineral that can easily become airborne. When mishandled, these fibers are released in the air, inhaled by workers and other people, and are deposited inside the lungs. Short-term exposure can be harmless, but continued exposure may lead to a serious illness called asbestosis.
People develop asbestosis when their alveoli, or those little air sacs inside the lungs, gets irritated by the asbestos fibers. The irritation can lead to wounds, which then become engulfed in scar tissue. The presence of scars makes the lungs stiff, making it difficult for this vital organ to expand and deflate to process air. As a result, among the most telling symptoms of asbestosis is shortness of breath and tightness or pain around the chest.
What makes asbestosis such a formidable foe is that fact that it manifests itself only after several years of continued asbestos exposure. Some cases go undetected for as long as forty years of exposure.
The muscle that lines the lungs, heart, stomach, and other internal organs is called the mesothelium. Mesothelioma is the condition when there are tumors that grow in this tissue. As with any other abnormal growth, these tumors can either be malignant (cancerous) or benign.
The development of both malignant and benign mesothelioma is often attributed or at least linked to asbestos exposure. Many of the patients on record had been working with asbestos sometime in their past, especially during the period when government regulations were not yet in place.
However, there are still people who get exposed to asbestos and then develop mesothelioma even with all the regulations. More often than not, the exposure is caused by simple neglect of the recommended precautionary measures especially on the part of the employer or facility owner. Professionals like the Bergman Legal asbestos lawyers help such patients get the compensation and assistance that they deserve.
As with asbestosis, symptoms of mesothelioma don’t show until the disease is already in its advanced stage. The signs include trouble breathing, pain under the rib cage, and lumps in the abdomen among others.
It’s clear that asbestos poses threats to the body’s well-being. However, because of its usefulness in a lot of domains, it still has not been banned. Instead, it’s heavily regulated. No one should deviate from the prescribed asbestos-handling processes.