Asbestos has a lasting legacy in the United States, from health conditions that plague contractors, miners, and factory workers, to asbestos hazards in our homes, offices, and schools. Fear of asbestos comes from the fear of the health conditions it poses, and the difficulty of detecting the hazard. When it comes to diagnosing your risk of asbestos exposure, you’ve got two major sources: watching out for “sentinel diseases” that commonly are linked to asbestos or performing an inspection of suspect buildings for asbestos.
Sentinel Diseases: Common Asbestos-Related Illnesses
Asbestos causes the majority of its health concerns by being inhaled into the lungs, causing several health conditions. While they all differ in their own individual health risks and complications, they also have several conditions in common. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s time to get yourself and your building checked:
- Shortness of breath
- A persistent and worsening cough
- Coughing up blood
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling and tenderness in the neck or face
- Fatigue or loss of appetite
When getting checked, be on the lookout for any of these three health conditions, commonly traced back to asbestos.
When asbestos enters the lungs, the thin crystals cut into the lungs, causing them to scar. As these scars continue to form, they interfere with the lungs’ capacity to function. This leads to shortness of breath and tightness in the chest, a dry cough, and loss of appetite. Check out our blog, Asbestos Inhalation: What is Asbestosis?, for more details.
Lung cancer is often a case of many contributing factors, so smokers who also risk asbestos exposure have a much higher chance of contracting lung cancer. Just like with asbestosis, asbestos fibers get trapped in the lungs. However, long-term exposure to the asbestos can cause malignancies to form, trigger various forms of lung cancer. Check out our blog, How Does Asbestos Give You Lung Cancer?, for more details.
Of all the illnesses asbestos can cause, Mesothelioma is the most dangerous. A disease almost entirely caused by asbestos in the US, it happens when asbestos comes into contact with the mesothelium: the thin lining that covers the chest walls and lungs. Mesothelioma is resistant to radiation with long-term survival being rare. Learn more about it in our blog, Mesothelioma: Asbestos’s Most Infamous Cancer.
Asbestos Inspections: Testing the Environment
Besides waiting for health conditions, you can proactively get your home or other building inspected by an asbestos abatement contractor. Companies like Fiber Control, Inc. specialize in the procedures for dealing with asbestos and other hazardous materials. If you’re in Massachusetts or New Hampshire and need asbestos inspection and removal, we can help. Contact us today.