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What are the signs and symptoms of asbestos exposure?

Because the majority of diseases which occur as a result of asbestos exposure affect the lungs, people with a history of asbestos exposure will experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, difficulty breathing, and a persistent cough.

answered by Treven Pyles

The majority of diseases which occur as a consequence of asbestos exposure affect the lungs

Asbestos exposure, which occurs when a person inhales or ingests asbestos fibers from the air, can lead to the development of numerous diseases within 20 to 50 years. However, the majority of people who come to struggle with a disease stemming from occupational or military asbestos exposure develop lung diseases, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, or mesothelioma. Thereby, the symptoms they will experience will be similar, regardless of the pulmonary disease they suffer from. Some of the most common symptoms of diseases which develop as a result of asbestos exposure are:



  • a persisting cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • difficulty breathing
  • fever
  • night sweats
  • loss of appetite
  • wheezing
  • hoarseness
  • night sweats
  • fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss

It is worthy of note that all diseases which stem from asbestos exposure have a long latency period, as once inside the body, asbestos fibers will gradually cause inflammation and tissue scarring to the organ they attach themselves to. Over the years, these symptoms may give way to the development of a disease. For this reason, people with a history of asbestos exposure need to undergo periodical medical examination to timely find out about a disease they may have developed.

The symptoms of other cancers which are the result of asbestos exposure

Asbestos exposure is not only responsible for pulmonary diseases, as asbestos fibers can easily travel through the bloostream to other organs in te body, such as the stomach or the colon. Thereby, approximately 30% of people who have a history of asbestos exposure come to struggle with gastrointestinal cancer, whereas 40% of them develop colorectal cancer. The symptoms of gastrointestinal cancer are the following:

  • abdominal pain
  • discomfort in the abdomen
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • feeling bloated after eating
  • unintentional weight loss
  • fatigue
  • loss of appetite
  • swelling in the abdomen
  • anemia

It is important to note that, similarly to lung diseases, gastrointestinal cancer and colorectal cancer also develop within 20 to 50 years after the asbestos exposure, as asbestos fibers cause damage to the organs gradually. The most common symptoms of colorectal cancer are:

  • diarrhea or constipation
  • rectal bleeding
  • blood in the stool
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue
  • unexplained weight loss
  • loss of appetite
  • cramps
  • narrowing of the stool

To qualify for compenstion, asbestos fibers must be present in your lungs if you do not struggle with a pulmonary disease. A simple chest X-ray can show whether you have asbestos fibers in your lungs or not. Nevertheless, the majority of asbesots victims who have gastrointestinal cancer or colon cancer have asbestos fibers in their lungs, which is the primary source from where they traveled to the gastrointestinal tract or the colon and the rectum. It is also important to know that misdiagnosis is very common among the victims of asbestos exposure, as diseases caused by asbestos exposure are quite rare and medical professionals rarely encounter such cases. For this reason, you need to be examined by multiple specialists before having a diagnosis assigned. A second and even a third opinion are crucial not only for receiving the appropriate treatment, but also for recovering the maximum compensation you are eligible for.

The misdiagnosis of diseases which stem from asbestos exposure

Because diseases which occur as a consequence of asbestos exposure are quite rare, the majority of medical professionals do not have the chance to examine many people struggling with these diseases. As a result, misdiagnosis is bound to occur and is very frequent among the victims of asbestos exposure. For instance, one can have colon cancer and asbestos fibers in their lungs without having the symptoms of a pulmonary diseases, such as shortness of breath or a persisting cough or one may develop pneumonia several times a year which is overlooked when, in fact, is a sign of lung cancer. Furthremore, numerous asbestos exposure victims are misdiagnosed with asthma when they actually have a considerably more serious lung disease, such as pulmonary fibrosis, lung scarring, asbestosis or even lung cancer. Thereby, a second and even a third opinion is necessary for people with a history of asbestos exposure, as this is the only way they can be assigned a correct and accurate diagnosis. By seeing multiple medical specialists who have vast experience in diagnosing diseases which stem from asbestos exposure, you are bound to receive a right diagnosis, which will not only help you get the appropriate treatment for your disease, but will also infuence your eligibility for financial compensation.

Our lawyers provide quality legal assistance to people injured by asbestos exposure

If you struggle with a disease that developed as a result of occupational or military asbestos exposure, you have the right to take legal action. With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation for the victims of asbestos exposure and their family members, our attorneys specialize in toxic exposure cases and will offer you the legal assistance you need. Following the initial discussion, during which you describe the circumstances under which you were exposed to asbestos, you will need to provide your attorney with your employment or military records, as well as with your medical records, which will be used as evidence of asbestos exposure and of related diagnosis. While the legal process is very complex, your involvement will be minimal, so that you can continue focusing on your health and treatment. We will file a claim with the asbestos trust funds of the companies which manufactured the dangerous products you were exposed to and with the VA if you are a veteran who was exposed to asbestos while serving in the military. By filing a claim with all of the liable parties, you will receive the maximum compensation you are eligible for.

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