Posted on May 22nd, 2020
Nowadays, the main topic of discussion is the current crisis that has sparked as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic but despite the difficult crisis we're facing right now, it's important to continue raising awareness about just how harmful asbestos really was and how veterans are suffering right now as a consequence of their exposure.
For a very long time, asbestos was one of the most popular minerals used in numerous products manufactured throughout the U.S. From insulation to cement, paint, auto parts, and even paper, asbestos use has quickly spread through basically all industries. Despite some early studies alleging a link between cancer and asbestos exposure, companies have failed not only to offer their workers proper protection but also to inform them and the general public about the potentially harmful effect that it might have on their health. Over the past three decades, numerous studies have shown a definite link between asbestos exposure and the development of serious lung and respiratory diseases such as:
Serving on Navy ships has been the main source of exposure for veterans, given the fact that up until 1980, the majority of U.S. ships have contained huge amounts of asbestos, especially below deck. Still, considering the fact that asbestos could be found pretty much everywhere, veterans might have had other sources of exposure too such as working with aircraft parts (for those working in maintenance) or even the dust from demolished buildings for those serving in Iraq. It often happens that veterans discover they suffer from chronic lung disease in its advanced stages, as they tend to ignore symptoms or attribute them to aging or other minor causes. It is extremely important to raise awareness of the fact that if you have been exposed to asbestos during your time serving in the military, you should regularly check on your health and be aware of early signs and symptoms of a possible asbestos-related disease.
Every year, approximately 10.000 U.S. veterans lose their lives due to an asbestos-related disease.
From asbestosis to kidney cancer, the health risks arising from asbestos exposure are multiple and it often happens that people who suffer from these diseases don't even discover them until it's too late.
While the signs that veterans with pulmonary disease may notice are very similar, whether their illness is COPD, pleural plaques, or lung cancer, those who suffer from cancer that occurs elsewhere in the body will experience more specific symptoms.
The most common signs of asbestos-related diseases which affect the lungs are:
It is worthy of note that diseases that ensue as a consequence of asbestos exposure typically have a long latency period, setting in within 10 to 50 years after one inhales toxic dust. Since asbestos fibers produce damage to the internal organs gradually, the disease they eventually bring about will only start causing perceivable symptoms after at least one decade, when it is often considered advanced. This is why keeping a close eye on your health is vital if you are a veteran with a history of military asbestos exposure. In the unfortunate event that you develop a disease, early detection is bound to improve your prognosis, as it will allow you to undergo effective treatment.
While it's most common that asbestos exposure leads to the development of lung diseases, studies have also found that because asbestos has the ability to travel inside the body it can attach itself to the tissue of various organs and lead to serious diseases such as cancer. The symptoms will vary depending on the location of cancer in the body, as well as on the severity of the illness. In addition to lung disease, veterans who were exposed to asbestos while serving in the military are also susceptible to the following:
If you notice any of the symptoms above, please seek medical assistance at your earliest convenience. The majority of diseases asbestos exposure is responsible for have very aggressive progress and wreak havoc on your health at a tremendously fast pace. Because veterans injured by asbestos are frequently misdiagnosed, which severely impacts their chances of survival, we also encourage you to get a second and even third opinion from a specialist, regardless of your current diagnosis. As the symptoms of one disease can easily be mistaken for those of another when asbestos is the culprit, it should not come as a surprise that the rate of misdiagnosis is so high. Visiting multiple medical experts is crucial and might even save your life if it turns out you initially received a wrong diagnosis.
If you are a veteran who had a high-risk job while serving in the U.S. military, chances are you inhaled a significant amount of toxic fibers, which are still in your lungs. To encourage timely detection, our medical experts provide asbestos screenings to veterans free of charge. Our specialists will gladly provide you with the assistance you need.