|Asbestos Related Diseases|
Asbestos Related Diseases - There are several serious and potentially fatal diseases that can be directly linked to asbestos exposure: Mesothelioma, Pleural Disease, Lung Cancer, Asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is cancer of the protective lining surrounding the lungs (pleura), abdomen (peritoneum), or heart (pericardium). Asbestos fibers enter the body through inhalation or ingestion becoming trapped in mesothelium permanently. Asbestos damages the mesothelium, and in some cases, creates ideal conditions for the growth of cancerous cells. Asbestos exposure can be directly linked to approximately 80% of mesothelioma cases.
Inhaled asbestos fibers can irritate the airways, alveolar sacs, and the pleural mesothelium that covers and protects the lungs. When fibers become lodged in the pleura, hardened patches of tissue and scarring (plaques) can form in response to irritation, restricting the linings around the lungs. This condition, called pleural disease, results in pain, progressively impaired lung function and in some cases pleural effusion, in which the lung cavity fills with fluid.
Asbestos related lung cancer differs from mesothelioma cancer in that the cancerous cells begin developing from within airways. Lung cancer can develop in response to asbestos irritation in the trachea, bronchial tubes, or bronchioles and spread to other organs throughout the body if not diagnosed and treated early. Cigarette smokers who are also exposed to asbestos have a significantly heightened risk of developing lung cancer when compared to non-smokers.
The alveolar sacs that carry oxygen to the blood can also become damaged and scarred when irritated by inhaled asbestos fibers. Scar tissue tightens the tiny sacs, inhibiting blood flow and oxygen absorption, which can cause a host of other cardiac and pulmonary complications. Progressively declining lung capacity, lack of energy, and chronic infection are common symptoms of the disease.