Except in rare cases, the symptoms of asbestos exposure are slow to appear, but once they do the effects are devastating and progress quickly. Asbestos usually attacks the lungs, but it can cause cancer in other parts of the body.
Some of the health problems caused by asbestos exposure include:
- Asbestos pleural disease
- Heart failure
- Lung cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Other cancers
Scarring of the lungs
When you breathe asbestos the fibers get into your lungs. Your immune system will try to break down and get rid of the fibers, but it can’t. When it fails scar tissue begins to form.
This can happen inside your lungs, causing asbestosis, or in the lining of your lungs and chest (the pleura) causing pleural thickening or pleural plaques.
Reduced lung capacity and swelling of the pleura can cause heart failure.
The mesothelium is the protective lining around your chest cavity, the cavity around your heart, abdominal cavity, and internal reproductive organs. It produces a lubricating fluid that enables your organs to move and function properly.
Asbestos can cause cancer of the mesothelium, called mesothelioma. There are three types:
Asbestos can cause cancer throughout the body. Mesothelioma is a very aggressive cancer and can spread quickly.
Mesothelioma is an excruciatingly painful disease. The pain can be as or more devastating than the rest of the effects of the disease combined. Pain management is an important part of treatment. Untreated pain will compromise the effectiveness of other treatments.
Over time the pain will become unmanageable. Eventually morphine patches will not longer be effective, and even a morphine drip will provide only limited relief.
If you or a loved one has developed mesothelioma or asbestosis, contact an experienced asbestos exposure attorney today.