Asbestos is a problematic mineral because while it has an important role in many industries, it can cause life-threatening illnesses.
Asbestos-related diseases vary. There are conditions where asbestos scars the lungs and causes damage over time, like asbestosis. There are also conditions like pleural disease, which may lead to pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs) or diffuse pleural thickening.
Asbestos can also lead to additional problems, such as the development of cancers like mesothelioma or lung cancer.
While not discussed as much as pulmonary (lung) conditions, asbestos may also cause cancer of the pharynx, colorectum, ovary, larynx and stomach. Sometimes, testicular issues may also arise.
Are there any treatments available to remove asbestos from the lungs?
No, there are no treatments that will remove asbestos from your body, though there are some surgeries that may address asbestos-related diseases once they manifest. To help protect yourself against injury after you believe you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you should consider:
- Quitting smoking if you’re a smoker
- Limiting any additional exposure to asbestos
- Getting vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia or the flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses
- Going to see your doctor regularly
- Exercising regularly to support good lung function
There are treatments that may help make you more comfortable if you develop one of these conditions, but prevention is the best measure you can take.
What do you need to do if you’re diagnosed with an asbestos-related condition?
If you are diagnosed with a condition related to asbestos exposure, it can be a good idea to look into where you may have been exposed. If you were exposed at work, then your employer may be liable for any injuries you suffer as a result.
You may be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim or look into other methods of obtaining compensation so that you can seek out the medical care you need while seeking financial support. Asbestos doesn’t always cause problems right away, but you should start your claim as soon as you know that you’ve developed an illness related to exposure. This will help you make your claim before reaching the statute of limitations.