What are the symptoms to look out for?
Asbestos is one of the world’s biggest pollutants with severe health effects on its patients. Every year, thousands of people suffer from asbestos-related diseases such as mesothelioma. In Australia alone, the disease has left more than 10,000 people dead since the ’80s.
Even though the government banned asbestos in late 2003, the damage was already done. The number of mesothelioma patients and deaths are still high. This is because asbestos still exists in older buildings and constructions. Any demolition or disturbance of such structures exposes people to this dangerous mineral.
As fine fibers, you cannot see asbestos with your naked eyes. But it lingers in the air. Easy to breathe in and settle in your lungs. If it accumulates for too long, it results in long-term diseases such as mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. However, unless exposed to high amounts of asbestos, it remains harmless. But if you suspect exposure, seek medical assistance immediately. The experts from Pro Asbestos Removal have shared some tell-tale signs of asbestos exposure you can look out for. Let’s have a look on these common symptoms.
7 signs of asbestos exposure
Shortness of breath
This is the earliest sign of asbestos exposure. When you inhale asbestos fiber perpetually, they accumulate in your lungs. This causes scar tissue called asbestosis. One of the major characteristics of this condition is difficulties in breathing. The victim will also experience shortness of breath. This happens because the lungs aren’t functioning normally. If not treated, asbestosis can escalate to lung cancer.
Clubbing refers to abnormal swelling of the fingernails and toenails. It is a result of chronic oxygen deficiency. Since asbestos interferes with the normal oxygen flow, it may not reach all these parts. So, if you see this sign, seek medical assistance.
It can take years to detect adverse symptoms of asbestos exposure. Actually, it can take more than 30 years after exposure to notice it. As the scar tissue continues to form, you may experience a persistent dry cough.
The asbestos fiber can cause inflammation of the lungs. As a result, you may hear a wheezing sound when breathing. If you notice it and you are not a smoker, it may mean you have been exposed to asbestos.
Excessive tiredness can signify asbestosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma. All these are a result of asbestos exposure. So, if you experience extreme fatigue and any other sign like shortness of breath, you may need to go for a checkup. Sometimes though, the fatigue may result from other factors.
Chest and abdomen pains
There might be several explanations why you are experiencing chest and abdominal pains. One is the inflammation of the internal organs or cancer. All these can be a result of asbestos presence in your body. Therefore, it’s imprudent to go for a medical check-up if you suspect it. With early diagnosis, you stand a better chance to deal with the asbestos effects.
Blood in the sputum
If you notice bloodstains in your sputum, it may be another sign of asbestos in your body. Also known as hemoptysis, the blood may be as a result of the respiratory infection due to asbestos. Bloodstain is different from vomiting blood.
Who are at higher risk of asbestos exposure?
According to several studies, some Australians have a higher risk of asbestos exposure. These include;
- Construction workers
- Electrical engineers working with or on automobiles
- Insulation workers
If you suspect to have been exposed to asbestos, seek medical assistance forthwith. There have been several misdiagnoses in the past. So, when seeking medication, insist on getting an appropriate check for asbestos exposure. When detected early enough, a GP can assist you to deal with the complications. So, do not wait until the symptoms are severe and pronounced. It might be too late to reverse or manage the conditions.
Though we say certain people are more susceptible to asbestos exposure, anyone can be. These fibers are all over in the air. Moreover, everyone living in buildings constructed before the asbestos ban is vulnerable. So, if you notice any of the signs mentioned above, don’t ignore them. It’s prudent to seek medical help as early as possible.