While a general understanding that exists about the health hazards associated with asbestos exposure, seldom are the true health concerns discussed. In the following article, we will attempt to list and explain a number of conditions and diseases associated with exposure to asbestos.
Pleural plaques or asbestos pleurisy
The pleura is a thin membrane made up of two layers, one of which covers the inside of the chest wall and the other covers the lungs. Unhealthy pleura are one of the most obvious signs of asbestos exposure as asbestos can cause a number of pleural conditions such as a pleural plaques or asbestos pleurisy.
Pleural plaques are common among people with high exposure to asbestos. Occasionally causing chest pain, pleural plaques are small, raised areas or tissue which usually occur on the pleura. Based on verifiable evidence, it has been speculated that pleural plaques are more likely to develop mesothelioma, however, they are not a risk factor for asbestosis.
Asbestos pleurisy is when the pleura next to the lungs become inflamed, with a resultant build-up of fluid around the lungs. Asbestos pleurisy often results in breathing difficulties suc as pain upon breathing in and shortness of breath.
When exposure to a large amount of asbestos takes place, the result could be asbestosis, wherein the lungs may become scarred. Asbestosis is known as an occupational lung disease, given its prevalence around people working on the production end of the industrial sector. One of the problems with this type of disease is that those affected only find out decades later that they were exposed to a large amount of harmful bacteria. Someone with asbestosis would express consistently deteriorating shortness of breath and a consistent, dry cough.
While there are treatments on offer such as inhalers and steroid tablets, which serve to help alleviate the symptons asbestosis causes, it is in fact, an incurable disease.
Mesothelioma is one of the varieties of cancer that is caused by asbestos exposure and occurs in the tissues which line the lungs or abdomen.
Substantial evidence exists to claim that asbestos exposure is a risk to cause a variety of types of lung cancer. Smoking further serves to increase this risk.