A person may be exposed to asbestos at work, school, public facilities or even in their own neighborhood. If products containing asbestos material are disrupted, small asbestos fibers can be released into the air and inhaled by humans.

This can occur during mining and processing of asbestos, when making products containing asbestos, or when installing asbestos insulation. The activity is still common in the third world where the prohibition on the use of asbestos and enforcement of regulations regarding the use of asbestos materials and asbestos products is still not optimal and there are no regulations at all.

In exposure developed countries occur when old buildings are destroyed or under renovation, or when products containing older asbestos materials begin to break down. In situations like this, asbestos fibers tend to create dust made of small particles that can float in the air. When asbestos fibers are inhaled, asbestos is very likely to be trapped in the lungs and remain there for a long time.

Over time, these fibers can accumulate and cause scarring and swelling, which can affect breathing and cause deadly diseases, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

Here are some diseases caused by asbestos exposure:

Mesothelioma

Asbestos causes mesothelioma, an aggressive and incurable type of cancer. Mesothelioma has a poor prognosis, with most patients dying within 1 year after diagnosis. This is caused by asbestos arising from mesothelial pleural cells (the lining of the lungs), the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity) and rarely in other places. Pleural mesothelioma is the most common type of mesothelioma, representing about 75 percent of cases. Peritoneal mesothelioma is the second most common type, consisting of about 10 to 20 percent of cases. Mesothelioma appears from 20 to 50 years after initial exposure to asbestos.

Lung cancer

Asbestos can cause lung cancer that is identical to lung cancer from other causes. The latency period between exposure and development of lung cancer is 20 to 30 years. It is estimated that 3% -8% of all lung cancers are related to asbestos. Symptoms include chronic cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, hemoptysis (coughing up blood), wheezing or hoarseness, weight loss and fatigue. The prognosis is generally bad unless the cancer is detected at an early stage. Of all patients diagnosed with lung cancer, only 15% survived five years after diagnosis.

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by scar tissue of the lung tissue, which starts from prolonged asbestos. This initially affects the base of the lungs and usually manifests after 15 years or more from the initial exposure. This occurs after high exposure and / or long-term exposure to asbestos. Asbestos-related fibrosis is progressive because it continues in the lungs even though no more asbestos is inhaled. Scarring causes the alveolar wall to thicken, reducing lung capacity which causes the patient to experience shortness of breath (dyspnea). Patients experience an increased risk of certain heart failure and malignancies.

Pleural plaques

Pleural plaque is the most common manifestation of asbestos exposure. The pleural plaque is a confined area of ​​hybridis (parietal pleural thickening) that develops 20 to 40 years after the first exposure. Over time, usually over 30 years, they often become partially calcified. Pleural plaques are usually asymptomatic, although there is evidence of past asbestos exposure and indicate an increased risk of developing other asbestos diseases in the future.

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening is generally a problem that occurs after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lungs (pleura) thickens and swells. If this worsens, the lungs themselves can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.

Read Also "Asbestos Cancer Symptoms".