There are several reasons why you should have asbestos removed from your home, office or work location. by a service like Total Asbestos Services. Key among these reasons is that asbestos is a major health risk to you, your family members or employees at work. Workers who are most vulnerable to asbestos exposure and asbestos-related diseases include plumbers, electricians, steamfitters and pipefitters. These workers also expose their family members to the risks, mainly by taking some of the materials with asbestos home – on their work attire.
Wondering what asbestos is? Well, this is a naturally occurring mineral that was once lauded for its heat resistant abilities, insulating properties, versatility and tensile strength. As such, it was used to make such things as fire-proof vests for construction. This mineral, however, is highly toxic, and here are some of its major health risks.
Asbestos is classified as a human carcinogen – a substance that causes cancer. Mesothelioma is not a common cancer, but is often observed among workers exposed to asbestos – and sometimes their family members. This cancer occurs in the mesothelial cells that form lining of the lung, heart cavity and abdominal cavity. The cancer is highly aggressive and fatal.
Asbestosis is an inflammatory condition that affects the lungs, causing permanent lung damage, coughs and shortness of breath. A scar-like tissue is formed in the lungs, decreasing the elasticity of the lungs.
Development of lung cancer due to asbestos exposure is dependent on various factors. These include the levels of exposure, age at first instance of exposure, smoking history and the size of asbestos fibres. The average period from exposure to development of lung cancer can vary from 20 to 30 years.
There are a dozen different diseases related to asbestos exposure. These conditions include pleural effects, where the affected individual develops pleural abnormalities. Also, asbestos exposure increases risks of laryngitis. In addition, development of diseases such as asbestosis has the effect of reducing the immune system of the patient.
Detecting Asbestos-Related Diseases
Individuals who are in occupations that have higher risk exposure, such as in the construction industry, should inform their doctors about their exposure history. Symptoms for asbestos-related diseases can take years before manifesting. As such, it is important to see a doctor if you are in such an industry and you develop any of the following symptoms:
- Hoarseness, wheezing, shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Persistent coughs
- Anaemia or Fatigue
- Weight loss
- Blood in sputum
- Tightening of chest – or pain in chest
If you have the above symptoms, you need a thorough examination that includes lung function tests and a chest X-ray.