Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral mined in numerous regions around the world. Centuries ago, asbestos was found to excel as a noncorrosive, flame-resistant insulator. Ground into fibers and mixed with various ingredients, asbestos was used in countless products including both consumer goods and construction materials. Unfortunately, it was later discovered that the ingestion or inhalation of asbestos fibers could lead to serious – often deadly – lung conditions.
While many people worry about mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure, there are numerous other serious conditions to be aware of including the lung disease asbestosis.
Causes of asbestosis
Exposure to high levels of asbestos dust over a long period of time can cause the airborne fibers to become lodged in the lungs. These fibers can irritate and scar the lung tissue leading to the development of asbestosis. As asbestosis progresses, more and more lung tissue becomes scarred and eventually stiffens to the point of loss of functionality.
Symptoms of asbestosis
There are myriad symptoms that depend on factors such as age, duration of exposure and smoking. Some of the more common symptoms can include:
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent, dry cough
- Loss of appetite with weight loss
- Chest tightness or pain
- Clubbing of fingers and toes
Individuals who were exposed to asbestos and have developed asbestosis face an increased risk of developing lung cancer. On rare occasions, malignant mesothelioma can occur.
If you were diagnosed with asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma or another disease related to asbestos exposure, it is wise to discuss your legal options with a skilled attorney.