At the time, Asbestos Health was a valuable ingredient used in the manufacturing industry. This microscopic fiber is a naturally occurring mineral that is easy to extract. The properties of asbestos that made it popular include its resistance to heat, chemicals, and electricity. As a result, house insulations, automotive parts, and textiles had this fiber embedded in them.
So if you’re a proud owner of a home constructed before 1989 or have a vintage car, chances are there is a high volume of these fibers on your property. Individually asbestos is harmless, but when these fibers become loose and airborne, they can be hazardous. Inhaling them leads to numerous health complications which require intensive medical treatment. Therefore, if you have asbestos around you, here is what you need to know:
What illnesses does asbestos cause?
If you have been inhaling asbestos for a long time, it’s time you get a checkup. Asbestos buildup can cause certain illnesses that need medical attention right away. If you’re experiencing symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, and blood in your cough, and find breathing hard, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with your GP. Here is some asbestos-related disease you should know of:
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is both rare and aggressive. While it primarily occurs in the lungs, there’s a chance you may get it in your stomach or heart too. Mesothelioma is also classified as an occupational hazard since only during manufacturing and construction do you get exposed to high levels of asbestos. This also grants you the grounds to file a lawsuit, which you can do by contacting your local law firm, ultimately holding the sources that are directly responsible for your deteriorating health accountable. The compensation from the settlement can help you pay for treatment and aftercare since mesothelioma is an expensive disease to treat.
Before treatment starts, a doctor has to narrow down the location, size, and type of cells in your body. This involves taking X-rays, carrying out biopsies, and running blood tests. Once the results are in, you may have to go through surgery, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and get exposed to radiation. Most symptoms of mesothelioma show up roughly 30 years after exposure.
Asbestosis is a type of lung condition that can lead to tissue scarring. When you breathe in asbestos fibers, you end up endangering your lungs. Common symptoms include intense chest pain, clubbing of the fingernails and toes along with persistent coughing. As your lung tissue gets thicker, breathing becomes difficult. Since there is no treatment for asbestosis, you may undergo rehabilitation programs instead.
These are preventative measures to slow down the progress of the disease and help you breathe better. For example, you may have to undergo oxygen therapy, which involves inhaling oxygen from a tank. This helps you when you’re breathless or have low blood oxygen levels.
Pleural disease is a noncancerous illness that impacts your chest cavity and the membrane of the lungs. Consequently, you may develop a thick membrane, which may cause the whole lung to engorge. This condition is also known as diffuse pleural thickening or general plaques if it affects specific areas. You cannot get these plaques removed. A doctor may suggest certain lifestyle changes for you to help keep their size in check. If you are a smoker, you will need to quit fast.
Therefore, try seeking help as soon as possible; this reduces the chance of developing smoking-related lung disease. In some instances, your lung morphology may stay the same, but you may start experiencing a buildup of fluids known as pleural effusion. Depending on your lung condition, you may have trouble breathing or feel a reduction in your lung capacity. A doctor will drain the excess fluid if there are too many liquid pools in your lungs.
How to avoid these risks?
Your best line of defense against asbestos is monitoring the exposure. Start by figuring out how much of the microscopic dust is around you and work your way from there. Here’s how:
- Don’t try DIY. Older houses have asbestos fibers within the walls and flooring. If you leave them alone, these microscopic fibers will not harm you. However, if you attempt DIY projects involving hammering, drilling, or scrapping, you risk the dust becoming airborne, which you may end up inhaling. Likewise, don’t attempt to change pipes and rusted components of machines around your house. This increases the likelihood of exposure which can soon become detrimental for you.
- Get an early screening. Deep chest pains, aches in your stomach, and blood in your mouth are unusual symptoms. Before your condition progresses to that level, consult a doctor whenever you feel sick or in pain. Early screening saves lives. You get an opportunity to stop the illness before it spreads, which can aggravate you. If you served in the army, work in construction or live in an asbestos-rich house, go for early screening.
- Wear protective gear. If it’s inevitable that you deal with asbestos, always ensure you have the right amount of PPE. These include coveralls, gloves, goggles, and face masks to prevent the fibers from clinging anywhere on your body. When you get done handling the area for the day, dispose of your protective gear and take a shower. This drastically reduces your exposure to the fibers.
- Learn safe handling and cleaning. When you’re getting rid of a product rich in asbestos, you need to handle it a certain way. Asbestos products do not go into the trash. These can pollute the area and expose you to the fibers by getting released into the surrounding air. Your best bet is to hire a professional with the tools and bags to collect and throw away asbestos materials. While washing or cleaning the area, don’t sweep. Brooms can release more fibers into the air, spreading the dust everywhere. You can thoroughly clean by spraying the area with water and wiping away the residue. Water forces the asbestos to clump together.
Asbestos is a microscopic fiber that can severely impact your health. Prolonged exposure can accumulate microfibrils in your body and lead to illnesses like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and pleural diseases. Each of these conditions requires a different diagnostic and treatment route, but mutually they affect your lungs the most. Therefore, you should find precautionary measures to prevent asbestos from wreaking havoc in your system.
These include not attempting to manipulate asbestos-intensive areas, going in for a screening, and letting a professional handle clean-up for you. Additionally, if you work in asbestos-laden regions, you must wear protective gear to reduce rage chances of inhaling these fibers.
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