Every year, thousands of people nationwide lose their lives to the effects of long-term exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is probably the most well-known asbestos-related condition, and with good reason – it is a horrific disease that causes its victims indescribable agony. However, there are also other types of illnesses that can decrease the quality of life of people who have had the misfortune of living and working in an environment polluted with airborne asbestos fibers.
This type of cancer kills more Americans than any other. Most victims of lung cancer developed the condition due to smoking tobacco. However, breathing in asbestos fibers dramatically increases your likelihood of developing lung cancer, even if you do not smoke.
Asbestos fibers are like tiny needles, and they can embed themselves within the tissue of your lungs. When that happens, your body naturally forms scarring around the site of the fibers. Over time, the scar tissue in your lungs thickens and becomes more rigid, causing a condition called asbestosis. In its advanced stages, asbestosis makes breathing extremely difficult, since the lungs lose their elasticity.
Sometimes, a side effect of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases is pleural effusion. This is when a large amount of fluid builds up in the membrane that lines your lungs. When enough fluid is present, it can restrict your lungs’ ability to expand properly. This can make it difficult to breathe, and if left untreated, can be deadly.
If you have a severe pleural effusion, surgeons may have to regularly drain the fluid around your lungs.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are a horrific and tragic result of a life of asbestos exposure. While advanced cases can be impossible to cure, there are treatments that can make the pain tolerable and help you to manage your condition as best you can while you seek justice for your harmful exposure.