Thousands of people nationwide lose their lives to the effects of long-term exposure to asbestos every year. Mesothelioma is probably the most well-known asbestos-related condition, and with good reason – it is a horrific disease that causes its victims intense agony. However, there are also other types of illnesses that can decrease the quality of life for people who have had the misfortune of living and working in an environment polluted with airborne asbestos fibers for an extended period of time.
This is the type of cancer that kills more Americans than any other. Most victims of lung cancer developed the condition due to smoking tobacco. However, breathing in asbestos fibers dramatically increases the likelihood of developing lung cancer, even for those who do not smoke.
Asbestos fibers are like tiny needles, and they can embed themselves within the tissue of your lungs. When that happens, your body naturally forms scarring around the site of the fibers. Over time, the scar tissue in your lungs thickens and becomes more rigid, causing a condition called asbestosis. In its advanced stages, asbestosis makes breathing extremely difficult, since the lungs lose their elasticity.
Sometimes, a side effect of mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases is pleural effusion. This is when a large amount of fluid builds up in the membrane that lines your lungs and other internal organs. When enough fluid is present, it can restrict your lungs’ ability to expand properly. This can make it difficult to breathe, and if left untreated, can result in death by asphyxiation.
If doctors identify a pleural effusion in time, they can buy you time and relieve some of your suffering by regularly draining the fluid around your lungs. This is an invasive and unpleasant procedure, but it is necessary in order to allow you to breathe comfortably.
Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases are a horrific and tragic result of a life of asbestos exposure. While advanced cases can be impossible to cure, there are treatments that can make the pain tolerable and help you to manage your condition as best you can while you seek justice for your harmful exposure.
No one should have to suffer the effects of asbestos exposure without the ability to seek compensation for the pain and suffering, medical bills and emotional trauma associated with their condition.