Asbestos is a dangerous substance in the right – or perhaps wrong – circumstances. In these situations, asbestos is exposed to air and by time and mechanical action caused to fragment and send asbestos fibers – crystal filaments thinner than a human hair – into the air. This can lead to several serious health conditions, which we talked about in our blog, Hazardous Materials: How Asbestos Makes You Sick. This blog focuses on explaining one of the health conditions in more detail: asbestosis.
As mentioned above, asbestos can become airborne as asbestos fibers. How they get airborne can differ depending on what parts of your building they are found in. When those fibers enter the lungs, the thin crystals start to cut the lungs on a microscopic level. Every time the lungs are cut, scars form. As these scars continue to build, they interfere with the lungs, reducing their capacity and in severe cases can lead to a massive reduction in functionality.
Signs and Symptoms
Asbestosis causes inflammation and stiffness in the lungs due to the fibers and their scarring. Common symptoms include:
- Loss of breath / shortness of breath.
- Tightness in the chest.
- A persistent dry cough.
- Loss of appetite and accompanying weight loss.
It’s important to note that there is no cure for asbestosis: oxygen therapy is often used to relieve shortness of breath and deal with low oxygen levels. Supportive treatments are often used to help battle inflammation and complications (see below).
Asbestosis is sadly not the only issue many victims suffer from, as it tends to have multiple complications.
- Cancer: Lung cancer and mesothelioma commonly form due to the carcinogenic nature of many asbestoses. Learn more about other cancers asbestos can cause here.
- Heart Disease: Pulmonary heart disease can form due to high blood pressure in the lungs.
- Plural Fibrosis: The formation of fibrous plaques on the lungs that further affect function and capacity.
Asbestos exposure is dangerous, and we are still discovering all the dangers that asbestos exposure can cause. Make sure your home or business is safe from asbestos by getting inspected. Fiber Control, Inc. are fully licensed and insured asbestos remediation contractors for Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Contact us today for an inspection.