After many years of occupational asbestos exposure, the inhaled fibers will leave the lungs permanently scarred
Asbestosis is what doctors call an occupational lung disease caused by long-term exposure to asbestos while at work. The inhaled tiny airborne asbestos fibers get trapped within the air sacs (alveoli) of the lungs and cause irritation and subsequent scarring of the lung tissue. The longer a person is exposed to asbestos and the more fibers that enter the body, the greater the risk of developing asbestosis or other asbestos-related conditions. As this is a gradual process, the symptoms of asbestosis may not develop for over two decades after the exposure. By the time the signs of asbestosis appear, significant scarring of the lungs would have occurred making it quite stiff and more difficult to breathe.
Since asbestosis is a progressive disease, breathing problems will get steadily worse, and in about 15% of people, severe shortness of breath and respiratory failure develop. Symptoms can be worse in those who smoke, and smoking combined with exposure to asbestos greatly increases the risk for lung cancer.
Certain occupations put workers at high risk of coming into contact with asbestos, which can cause long term inflammation and scarring of the lungs:
- auto mechanics
- power plant workers
- oil refinery workers
- chemical plant workers
- textile mill workers
- shipyard workers
- paper mill workers
If you suffer from a persistent cough and progressive shortness of breath, you should tell a doctor about any possible exposure to asbestos. Because asbestosis has symptoms that resemble many other diffuse interstitial lung diseases, diagnosis is usually made after excluding alternative diagnoses and considering symptoms alongside a confirmed history of asbestos exposure.
As asbestosis progress very quickly, it’d be essential to seek legal advice immediately
If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified lawyer to discuss your options. Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. has more than 20 years of experience in helping people exposed to toxic chemicals on the job, and we are familiar with the avenues of compensation relevant to your specific situation. Each claim is different and the amount you could receive depends on your individual circumstances, including the extent of your illness, emotional distress, pain and suffering, and any financial expenses it has incurred.