Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that has been heavily utilized in a broad range of materials and products within the construction industry until its ban was introduced in 1999 in the U.K. Working with asbestos means being exposed to a dust that is comprised of thin and sharp fibers that cannot be dissolved by the body. If these microscopic fibers are inhaled, they may become lodged in the lungs and eventually cause scar tissues to build up during the immune system’s attempts to remove them. So, how long do diseases caused by asbestos take to develop?
Exposure to Asbestos
For people who have had prolonged exposure to asbestos or worked with the mineral for an extended period of time, the latency period for the asbestos-related diseases to develop may be much shorter. There are some instances where the duration between exposure and diagnosis can be even shorter. This was discovered following the collapse of the Twin Towers in 2001 where clouds of dust and debris that contain asbestos fibers were released into the atmosphere exposing mostly emergency responders to the harmful mineral. In just 5 years, one rescue worker died of mesothelioma which is one of the many diseases caused by asbestos. Before this event, another worker was diagnosed with mesothelioma just 2 years after the incident and eventually succumbed to the illness in 2004.
Symptoms of Asbestos-Related Diseases
Symptoms for diseases caused by asbestos vary but they all affect the respiratory system. Some of the commonly known symptoms are as follows:
- Shortness of breath
- Persistent cough
- Chest pains
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pleural effusions
Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that is caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos that can affect the lining of the abdomen and the lungs. Symptoms of mesothelioma include the following:
- Build-up of abdominal fluid
- Abdominal swelling
- Bowel obstructions
- Loss of appetite
What You Can Do if You Have Been Exposed to Asbestos Due to Work
If you had inhaled or been exposed to asbestos due to the nature of your work, it is crucial that you remain vigilant of your health. Not everyone who has been exposed to asbestos will experience symptoms and eventually develop a disease. However, if you start developing any of the abovementioned symptoms, seek professional medical advice immediately. An expert will have ample expertise on the matter to provide proper advice regarding your condition and what procedures you can take next. In the event that you are diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, moving forward through the right channel can help you maintain your health condition.
Exposure to Asbestos in Property
If you believe that you may have been exposed to asbestos fibers while some renovation works were being carried out in your property, you also need to monitor your health accordingly. You may also wish to approach a professional company that offers asbestos inspection that can be done in your property. This will provide you with the peace of mind you need to continue living without having your quality of life affected.