Asbestos Exposure and the Resulting Illnesses
Exposure to asbestos can often lead to underlying medical issues that can take years, even decades, to show up in day to day life or routine medical exams. Typical signs and symptoms of asbestosis, the illness that results from asbestos exposure, includes shortness of breath, J-shaped scarring on the lungs, and pleural plaques. However, breathing issues can often be diagnosed as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) even when asbestosis is present due to the similar symptoms, and treatment such as inhalers and oxygen assistance can subdue the symptoms on a short-term basis. Unfortunately, there is no cure for asbestosis, but there is compensation available for those who worked around asbestos without proper protective gear who later developed asbestos-related illnesses.
If you have been diagnosed with COPD, lung cancer, mesothelioma, or digestive cancers including colon cancer, esophageal cancer, and stomach cancer, there is a chance that underlying asbestosis impacted your health.
Common signs of asbestos exposure impacting the lungs include:
- shortness of breath
- dry cough
- crackling sound when breathing
- chest pain or tightness
- respiratory complications
- pleural effusion (fluid in the space surrounding the lungs
- pleural plaques
- pleural thickening
Common signs of asbestos exposure impacting other parts of the body include:
- abdominal swelling and distention
- abdominal or pelvic pain
- bowel obstruction
- weight loss
- loss of appetite
- difficulty swallowing
- clubbed fingers
COPD and asbestosis both can cause a shortness of breath; to differentiate between the two, a pulmonary function test should be performed to identify total lung capacity and breathing abilities. A certified pulmonologist can assist with administering the test or your doctor may refer you to a facility such as a hospital for this.
A chest X-ray or CT scan can help identify nodes on the lungs. The presence of pleural plaques can take a significant amount of time to develop, sometimes up to thirty years after initial asbestos exposure, but their presence rarely causes impacting symptoms. Your doctor may notice these on routine imaging, or the results of a breathing test such as a pulmonary function test may prompt further imaging to be performed.
If you feel asbestos exposure is the result of your medical issues, please contact our office for a free consultation. Our qualified legal assistants are here to help you understand the severe impact asbestos can have on the body and they will guide you through the complimentary qualification process to help you pursue asbestos claim compensation. Our office number is 813-839-5708 and we look forward to your call.