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Emphysema patients, at high risk for COVID-19 complications

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 21st, 2020

People who struggle with emphysema are considerably more susceptible to experiencing severe symptoms of the new virus, as they have underlying lung problems and a weak immune system. Furthermore, they also have a great chance of developing health complications if they become infected with the coronavirus, which may be fatal.

The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading throughout the world at a fast pace, with over 3 million diagnosed cases and more than 134,000 deaths at the moment. While everyone is susceptible to contracting the new virus, there are certain demographics that are at high risk of developing serious health complications if they become infected. These groups of people include patients suffering from emphysema, a lung disease that currently affects 3.5 million individuals in the U.S.

Why are emphysema patients at a higher risk for COVID-19 complications?

People who struggle with emphysema have poor lung function and a weak immune system which means that a possible infection with the novel coronavirus is significantly more likely to manifest severe symptoms. Furthermore, the risk of complications such as respiratory system failure and even other organ failures is also higher, since the lungs of emphysema patients are extremely damaged.

It is worthy of note that the vast majority of people who suffer from emphysema are between the ages of 40 and 60, which could also be considered a risk factor. The most common symptoms of infection with SARS-COV-2 are a persisting cough, fever, and shortness of breath, but it may also cause an inability to stand up, chest pain, and confusion if health complications are taking place. However, the symptoms of infection with the new virus are very similar to those of emphysema, as the former also targets the respiratory system, which makes distinguishing between the two health issues very difficult.

If you experience a new onset of symptoms or if the symptoms you already have worsened, please seek medical attention immediately, as you may have contracted the virus. Left untreated, coronavirus can prove fatal, particularly if you are over 60 and have underlying lung diseases.

The connection between emphysema and asbestos exposure

The causes of emphysema are tobacco smoking, air pollution, and exposure to toxic substances such as asbestos. A naturally occurring mineral, asbestos is classified as a known carcinogen by multiple national and international health organizations. When asbestos fibers become airborne, people unavoidably inhale harmful particles, which may lead to the development of emphysema or other severe lung diseases within 20 to 50 years of the first exposure. During the last century, there were many occupations in which asbestos use was regular, including shipyard worker, electrician, chemical plant worker, insulator, power plant worker, carpenter, textile mill worker, and steamfitters. Therefore, people who had one of these jobs before 1980 are now at high risk of receiving a diagnosis of emphysema.

Emphysema patients may be eligible for financial compensation

It is important to know that if your emphysema diagnosis is a result of occupational asbestos exposure, you can recover financial compensation for your physical and emotional suffering. Our attorneys, who specialize in this area of practice and who have been pursuing asbestos exposure cases for the last 30 years, will provide you with the legal assistance you need to file a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies which manufactured the products you were exposed to on the job. If you are a veteran, we will also file a claim with the VA, as they offer financial compensation in asbestos exposure cases as well.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to take legal action immediately, since asbestos exposure cases have a statute of limitations of 3 years from the moment you are assigned your emphysema diagnosis. As a consequence, if the statute of limitations expires, you are no longer eligible for compensation. If you decide to seek compensation, your attorney will expedite your claim to recover the money you need as soon as possible. The financial compensation you will eventually receive will help you afford superior healthcare and treatment, so taking legal action in this respect is absolutely worth it.