5 Signs Of Asbestos Exposure

Asbestos exposure: Five symptoms and four deadly diseases caused by asbestos  - Sound Health and Lasting Wealth

Asbestos is naturally found in the earth, and it’s used to insulate buildings. It was once a popular material for construction, but it has been largely phased out of use in the past few decades as its toxicity became more widely known. In fact, many older buildings have dangerous levels of asbestos still in their walls and ceilings.

Anyone who has lived or worked in an old building that contains asbestos has a possible risk of developing lung cancer later in life. That’s why it is so important to get in touch with asbestos survey and removal consultants as soon as you believe you have been exposed to the substance. 

Asbestos exposure is usually not immediate and obvious, so you need to note and keep a record of the presence of certain symptoms that might indicate exposure because it is important to know how much time has passed since the exposure occurred. So, if you remember an incident that may have involved asbestos, mark the date.

Where can asbestos be found?

  • Construction work: Asbestos was commonly used in factory buildings, schools, offices and other buildings built before the 1970s. If demolition or renovation work occurs in older buildings and results in the release of dust containing asbestos, you may be at risk of exposure.
  • Plumbing systems: Asbestos was commonly used as a thermal and acoustic insulator as well as a fireproofing agent for pipes and ductwork. If you have old pipes or ductwork at your home or workplace, you could inhale dangerous amounts of asbestos if any part were to fail or break.
  • Products containing asbestos: Some products, like some types of paint and flooring, contain mineral fibre. Exposures can occur if these products crack or deteriorate over time. You might also be exposed if you open up an old package that contains asbestos-containing material.

5 common signs you have been exposed to asbestos

Prolonged dry cough

Asbestos fibres can get into your body through a number of routes. The most likely way is by breathing them in. The particles can also be inhaled with dust, ingested and absorbed through the skin.

When you breathe in airborne asbestos fibres, they are deposited in your upper and lower airways. Over time, this can cause scarring and inflammation, reducing your airway’s ability to function properly and increasing your risk of developing lung disease.

However, exposure to asbestos may cause a dry cough that lasts for several years before developing into something more serious like emphysema or bronchitis. So, you can get ahead of the problem by simply paying more attention to your body.

Pain in the chest or abdomen

One of the early warning signs that you have been exposed to asbestos is experiencing pain in the chest or abdomen. This pain might be due to excessive dry coughing, which can increase friction in the lungs as a result. 

Besides, inhalation is the most common form of asbestos exposure. When you breathe in airborne asbestos fibres, you can inhale them deep into your lungs where they can end up sticking to lung tissue. This can lead to tightening and chronic inflammation that can lead to chest and abdominal pain.

Clubbing of fingers

Asbestosis can start as a low-grade headache or chest pain. But after some time, your skin may begin to feel thick and your fingers may look clubbed. 

Clubbing of fingers and toes is a relatively common symptom of asbestosis and mesothelioma. It involves swelling under the skin, which results in fingers or toes appearing wider than usual. Although these symptoms usually begin after several years of exposure to asbestos, they can also appear within days after exposure. 

Difficulty in swallowing and general fatigue

Asbestos fibres are extremely small and can slip into your throat unnoticed. Those fibres can cause chronic inflammation and damage to your oesophagus and stomach lining. This leads to difficulty swallowing food or liquids.

You might feel like something is stuck in your throat and have trouble eating or drinking. There might also be pain along your jaw or neck, which could make you cough.

In addition to that, fatigue is another sign that could indicate asbestos exposure. The reason is that both the lungs and the heart are affected by the mineral, and those organs need energy to function properly. If those systems don’t get enough oxygen, they won’t be able to deliver blood as efficiently as normal, causing your energy levels to go down.

Loss of appetite

Asbestos is a hazardous material that can cause serious health problems if ingested. It can cause irritation or inflammation in the stomach and intestines, causing nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. This irritation can lead you to feel resentment towards eating because the discomfort can make something as natural as feeding yourself seem like a difficult task. 

Who is at risk of asbestosis?

Ever since the 1940s, millions of Americans have reportedly been affected by asbestosis. Most commonly though, people involved in asbestos mining and milling, construction, demolition, manufacturing of asbestos textiles and other asbestos products, shipbuilding trades, manufacturing of automobiles and asbestos removal are at a higher risk of asbestosis. Firefighters and drywall removers are also more likely to get exposed to asbestos. 

You have been exposed to asbestos, what’s next?

The majority of people with asbestos exposure are not aware they are suffering any symptoms until they begin experiencing shortness of breath and other respiratory problems. If you think you may have suffered this kind of exposure, be sure to immediately seek medical attention by consulting your doctor or a local hospital emergency room.

It is also a good idea to have a team of asbestos survey and removal consultants inspect your property before you determine the right plan of action moving forward.