Asbestos-related illnesses have become more common due to the many years, or often decades, it can take to manifest. The effects of exposure to asbestos are extremely serious, including a number of life-threatening illnesses.
Here are the five main illnesses associated with prolonged or repeated exposure to asbestos.
1. Asbestosis – Heavy or regular exposure is believed to be the cause for this illness, where the lungs become scared. Sufferers can suffer from severe shortness of breath and could be at greater risk of developing lung cancer or mesothelioma.
2. Lung Cancer – In the UK alone, asbestos has been linked with 2-3% of lung cancer deaths. If significant exposure to asbestos coincides with being a regular smoker, there could be a synergistic effect in the forming of lung cancer.
3. Mesothelioma – This is a rare form of cancer that can take up to 30 years to manifest after initial exposure to asbestos. It attacks the protective lining that covers most of the bodies organs.
4. Pleural plaques – This is a localised form of scaring in the lungs. It is almost exclusively linked to asbestos exposure and can take more than 20 years to manifest. It is thought that around half of all people who were exposed over long periods of time will develop the condition.
5. Pleural Thickening – While Pleural Plaques are localised, when the scaring along the lining of the pleura is widespread, it is called pleural thickening. Although not considered as serious as mesothelioma or lung cancer, it can adversely affect the lungs and cause shortness of breath. In some cases, sufferers sometimes develop lung cancer at a later stage.
Among those thought to have been a greater risk of contracting an asbestos-related illness are plumbers, painters, gas fitters, laggers, thermal insulation engineers, building workers and decorators.
If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with an asbestos illness or any other kind of industrial disease it may be time to seek compensation.