Asbestos is a naturally occurring silica mineral that was used as building materials over the years. It was mainly used for insulation and fire-resistance, in places like pipes, boilers and other heating devices.
In most cases, asbestos shouldn’t pose an immediate health threat unless it’s damaged or disturbed. However, renovations or other disturbances can release asbestos fibers into the air, which could lead to mesothelioma and other health problems.
What is Asbestos?
Asbestos is a natural fibrous mineral found in some rocks that resist heat, fire and acids. It is commonly used in a variety of manufactured goods, including insulation, floor tiles, roofing shingles and automobile brake pads.
As a material, asbestos is a silicate mineral that contains millions of thread-like fibers that are long and thin. These fibers are highly flexible, durable and resistant to heat and chemicals.
These qualities are why asbestos was often used in building materials before it became more dangerous in the 1930s. Because it was cheaply mined and available in large quantities, it became the preferred material for insulating residential and commercial buildings.
Over the years, as it has become more widely known as a carcinogen, manufacturers have started to remove asbestos from their products. This has resulted in a decline in the use of asbestos in construction and many household products, but it is still present in small amounts in newer products.
The main risk is that if you breathe in asbestos fibers over a prolonged period of time, you can increase your chances of developing one or more diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma. These diseases can be difficult to diagnose, so your doctor will take a comprehensive medical history and use various tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
Your doctor may also do a physical examination and check your lung function. These tests can help them determine the amount of asbestos exposure you have had, which can help them make a diagnosis for you.
Lung disease is the most common type of asbestos-related illness. It develops slowly over time and is caused by breathing in airborne asbestos fibers. Symptoms include chronic coughing, chest pains, wheezing, shortness of breath and a crackling sound when you inhale.
Another common form of asbestos-related disease is mesothelioma, which affects the lining of your lungs and chest cavity. It can occur in people who have worked around asbestos, but it can also happen if you’ve been exposed to the substance through family members or other means.
Mesothelioma is a deadly form of cancer that typically develops between 20 and 40 years after a person’s first contact with the mineral. Symptoms can be quite painful, and the condition usually only gets worse over time. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, your doctor will do a test called a chest X-ray to find out what is going on with your lungs. They might recommend a CT scan or biopsy to determine the cause of your pain and swelling.
How is Asbestos Exposed?
Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has long been used in a variety of products for strength, insulating, fire and acoustical properties. It is also widely recognized as a cause of cancer and a number of other serious diseases, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis.
Most people will be exposed to asbestos in some way or another at some point in their lives. Depending on the type of material and the extent of exposure, this exposure can range from inhaling fibers when they are disturbed to simply stepping in or walking over contaminated surfaces that have become covered in dust.
Inhaling fibers is the most dangerous type of exposure to asbestos. This is because they become trapped in the lungs and can remain there for many years. They can also cause scarring to form and lead to a number of health conditions such as mesothelioma or lung cancer.
The earliest sign that someone is at risk of asbestos exposure is shortness of breath. This is caused by the formation of scar tissue in the lungs that makes breathing difficult. It can also affect a person’s ability to breathe deeply, and it may result in general fatigue.
Symptoms of long term asbestos exposure include pleural plaques, which are thick patches of scar tissue that form on the lining of the lungs and can make it harder for the body to get oxygen. This can be detected on a regular X-ray or CT scan.
Other symptoms of prolonged asbestos exposure are weight loss, difficulty swallowing and abdominal pain. These symptoms can be accompanied by a number of other problems, including heartburn and asthma.
A regular routine of examining the lungs, throat and chest can help to ensure that the person is not developing any of these symptoms. If it is a concern, the person should be tested for the presence of mesothelioma and other related illnesses.
If asbestos is present, it should be removed as soon as possible and properly disposed of. It is best to call a certified asbestos building inspector for this.
Asbestos can be a real hazard in any home or office environment, but it can be especially common in older homes that were built before the 1980s. It can be found in a number of different materials and it is not always easy to identify.
What are the Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?
Many people who work in construction or manual labor are at risk of asbestos exposure. Those who live or work near old buildings are also at risk.
The most common type of exposure to asbestos is through breathing contaminated air. Disturbing asbestos-containing materials by sawing, drilling, cutting or scraping releases fibers into the air that can become lodged in the lungs.
One of the most common symptoms of asbestos-related illness is shortness of breath. This is because ingested fibers form scar tissue in the lungs and make it difficult for the lungs to expand and contract normally.
Another sign of asbestos-related lung problems is general fatigue. Fatigue is usually a normal part of an individual’s life, but if paired with shortness of breath it can be an early indicator that something isn’t right in the lungs.
If the shortness of breath is severe and you can’t breathe deeply enough to catch your breath, talk to a doctor. They can do a chest x-ray and pulmonary function test to see how well your lungs work.
Other possible signs of asbestos-related illnesses include swollen fingers, clubbing, wheezing or a cough that lasts all the time. These symptoms may be related to other respiratory conditions, but if they are severe, seek immediate medical help.
Asbestosis and mesothelioma can cause serious lung damage, so it’s important to be aware of the dangers. A lung function test, chest x-ray and CT scan are necessary to make a proper diagnosis.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining of the lungs and abdominal cavity, which occurs most often in men who have been exposed to asbestos at an early age. It can be fatal if left untreated, so it’s crucial to get diagnosed as soon as possible.
Pleural thickening or pleural plaques are non-cancerous, but they can increase your risk of developing mesothelioma later in life. Symptoms of pleural thickening are nonspecific and include a hard, thickened lining around the lungs called the pleura.
Asbestos-related diseases can take years to develop after you’ve been exposed, so it’s important to be vigilant about any breathing problems that arise over time. The earliest warning signs of mesothelioma include chest pain and fluid build-up around the lungs, and if they don’t improve over time it could be time to see a doctor.
What are the Risks of Asbestos Exposure?
The risk of asbestos exposure depends on the type and how much of the fibers you inhale. Generally, people who worked with asbestos at work, such as shipbuilders, insulation workers, and drywall removers, have the highest risk of developing health problems from exposure to asbestos.
The best way to avoid exposure is to keep any materials containing asbestos in good condition. If you do have a material in your home that is in poor condition, you should remove it. If you can’t remove the material, you should consider having it tested to see if it contains asbestos.
There are two types of asbestos-related diseases that can occur after exposure. These are mesothelioma and lung cancer. They can either occur in the lungs or the abdomen (mesothelioma). Both are fatal and tend to develop slowly after prolonged, heavy exposure.
Lung cancer is more common than mesothelioma in people who have been exposed to asbestos. It’s also more likely to occur in smokers than non-smokers. It is not known why smoking and exposure to asbestos increase your risk of lung cancer, but it is believed to be due to a synergistic effect, in which the combined effects produce a greater effect than the individual components.
Another risk of asbestos is that it can lodge in your skin, causing scarring. This can occur from exposure to asbestos in a workplace, inhalation of air that has been disturbed by demolition or renovation, or contact with natural asbestos-containing soil or rock.
Because of the danger of asbestos, many states have banned its use in new construction or commercial buildings. However, it can still be found in older homes or buildings that were built before 1980.
The first sign of an asbestos-related disease is usually shortness of breath or a cough, which may sound like the flu or a cold. Other signs include chest pain, difficulty swallowing, and coughing up blood.
If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor. They can order tests to check for the presence of asbestos or to identify any other potential illnesses you might have developed.