Asbestos exposure is something that should have been eliminated years ago but which still occasionally happens. When it does, it can cause many different diseases, all of which are debilitating. Some are even potentially or inevitably deadly. As a result, if you have been exposed to asbestos and are worried about your health, finding help is a critical step. Doing so will make it easier for you to choose the legal steps that you need.

Asbestos Causes Lung Damage

Once heavily used in building materials, asbestos is no longer used due to the damage that it causes to the lungs. As this damage spreads, it can trigger a variety of different diseases that are all painful and which can be deadly. Just a few of these potential conditions include the following:

  • Asbestosis – Asbestos exposure can cause scar tissue throughout the lungs that make it harder to breathe and which can worsen and become more long-term if not properly treated.
  • Pleural Disease – A non-cancerous disease that changes the membrane in the chest that surrounds many person’s organs. It becomes much thicker and breathing can become difficult.
  • Lung Cancer – Though asbestos exposure is not always enough to cause lung cancer, it may worsen a person’s condition or work with tobacco exposure to make it more damaging.

These diseases all cause great discomfort in a person’s life and can leave them gasping for air. Unfortunately, all three are typically hard to treat and may leave life-long damage in the lungs even if they are managed. However, no condition is as bad as mesothelioma – a cancer that has become more and more common, even with asbestos rarely used in any products on the market today.

Risk Factors for Mesothelioma

When something increases your chances of getting a disease, it is called a risk factor. There are many risk factors involved with many of the illnesses that people develop. In this case, there are risk factors for developing mesothelioma cancer. It is important that you understand your risks to be able to help reduce your chances.

Asbestos exposure is by far the highest risk factor. Studies have shown that about 80 percent of the people diagnosed with mesothelioma have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that at one time was used in many materials, including cement, shingles for a roof, insulation, and other construction materials. Those who worked with materials containing asbestos breathed in or swallowed the fibers and exposed themselves. They could also carry the fibers on their clothes and expose others in their houses to asbestos. A material that contains asbestos does not pose a risk if it remains intact. Once the product is disturbed in some ways, it releases the fibers into the air.

There are some workers at a higher risk for exposure if they worked as a miner, factory worker, insulation installer or manufacturer, railroad worker, shipbuilder, or gas mask manufacturer. If you live in an older home, you can be at a greater risk. If you spent a lot of time in older buildings, you may also be at risk for exposure. You must work directly on a regular basis with asbestos to have a higher chance of developing mesothelioma.

When someone has had exposure to asbestos and that person also smokes, they could be at a higher risk for lung cancers. If you have been exposed to radiation, you could be at risk for mesothelioma. A small percentage of people that developed mesothelioma inherited it due to a mutation of a gene.

The World Trade Center was attacked on September 11th, and tons and tons of asbestos were released into the air. Many people, including rescue workers, residents that lived close by, and others that helped with clean up inhaled asbestos. Some people have seen the impacts of the exposure. The long-term implications of that exposure will not be known for many years. If you believe you or someone you love was exposed to asbestos and want to know what options you have, you may want to find a law firm that can help you answer some of your questions.

Why Mesothelioma is So Destructive

The worst condition caused by asbestos is mesothelioma, a disease that was once unheard of and which is still relatively rare compared to many other cancers. However, an intense upswing in cases occurred decades after the debut of asbestos in home construction and general use. That’s because exposure to these fibers will potentially trigger this disease but typically after 20-60 years after initial exposure.

As a result, there was a generation of mesothelioma cases that often resulted in death, as this cancer was not well understood or easy to diagnose. Even now, treatment is touch-and-go and the survival rate is typically only around 7-8 percent. This cancer is so deadly because it appears in the membrane around the chest cavity and spreads to other organs throughout the body, like the heart and even the kidney.

Those with this condition should seriously consider reaching out to a lawyer who can provide them with the legal help needed to get compensation. Professional help will make this process go smoother by providing you with the assistance that you need to present your case. Typically, you need to prove that someone’s negligence triggered your tumors – such as the lack of proper asbestos removal in your home.

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