Asbestosis is a type of inflammatory lung disease that is caused by prolonged and heavy exposure to and inhalation of asbestos particles. It is one of several types of illnesses related to this type of exposure.
While it is arguably one of the less severe types of illnesses caused by this deadly mineral, it can directly lead to more serious afflictions, most notably lung cancer. It’s important to understand the distinctions between this disease, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, but also to acknowledge that those who suffer from this are at a greater risk for those cancers.
This type of mesothelioma is caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibers over a long period of time. These fibers become lodged in the lungs and in the mesothelium, which is a membrane in the body that supports and protects the heart, lungs and abdomen.
Usually, it takes up to 10 years after exposure for a person to start to experience the effects of mesothelioma.
The symptoms are primarily that the afflicted person becomes fatigued very easily, and they experience an increasingly severe shortness of breath.
While the latter symptom is minor at the start, in severe cases it results in complete respiratory shutdown, and can be fatal. Note that coughing is not a symptom, but may be indicative of other respiratory problems caused by the inhalation of fibers, including lung cancer.
Asbestosis is an incurable disease. Treatments for it include oxygen therapy, which can help people overcome their shortness of breath. Other types of treatment work to help the drain the lungs of any fluid buildup, but all of these treatments are only temporary measures.
While the disease is not immediately fatal, it is something that a person must live with for the rest of their natural lives.
What to do if you are ill
The only real recourse for a person suffering from asbestosis is to file a claim against the entity at fault for exposing them. Many companies used asbestos heavily in their construction projects, despite knowing about the materials toxic effects on people.
This negligence means that they are liable for any financial burdens incurred by those suffering from the disease or other related illnesses. This can include any wages lost due to being unable to work, any medical expenses.
Victims may also be awarded general pain and suffering damages. There are many lawyers who specialize in handling asbestosis and related cases on a contigency basis.