Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos Related Diseases are severely disabling and some fatal. The greater the exposure, or the longer period of exposure, the greater the risk of developing an asbestos related disease. The most common asbestos related illnesses are pleural plaque, plural effusion, asbestos lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma.

Although these conditions range in severity, they all stem from asbestos exposure. Unfortunately, all of their warning signs remain latent for approximately 20-40 years before appearing. In addition, the symptoms often reflect more commonly known illness such as the flu, colds, bronchitis, and pneumonia.

Pleural Plaque

This condition is the most common among Asbestos Related Diseases. Pleural plaques are smooth, white, raised and irregular areas of lung tissue that thicken. As a result, part of the lung becomes trapped and compressed. As time passes, the raised areas may become calcified. The plaques are not cancerous, but increase the chance of developing cancer. Additionally, pleural plaques are present in almost all cases of asbestosis. There is typically no form of treatment for this condition unless the lung capacity is compromised.

Pleural Effusion

Simply stated, this is a condition, not truly a Asbestos Related Diseases, that occurs when fluid builds up in the cavity surrounding the lungs and inhibits them from expanding properly. Normally, the space between the inner and outer pleural layers can hold no more than 15 ml. of fluid. When the lymphatic system can’t expel the excess liquid, pleural effusion occurs.

Asbestos-Induced Lung Cancer

Another Asbestos Related Diseases is Asbestos induced Lung Cancer. Approximately 17,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer every year. Although lung cancer is typically referred to as a smoker’s disease, it does have other causes. However, a history of working with asbestos and a smoking habit increases the risk of developing lung cancer. For example, those who have asbestosis have a greater chance of contracting lung cancer. This type of cancer develops in the cells lining the air passages.