5 Telltale signs of asbestos poisoning
Asbestos refers to a group of naturally occurring minerals whose properties are resistant to heat and corrosion. The strength of asbestos fibers made it ideal in the past for a variety of building materials, such as insulation, flooring or roofing. However, now recognized as a severe health hazard, agencies like OSHA and the EPA have regulated asbestos use since the 1970s.
But despite the strict regulations today, there are still industries and occupations that are at higher risk of exposure, including construction, manufacturing, mining and milling. Generally, it is challenging to determine whether a business is at risk of asbestos poisoning because symptoms often don’t manifest for years or even decades. But 20% of people who work with asbestos develop a related disease.
If you have a history of asbestos exposure or suspect you may have been exposed, you must undergo a medical evaluation to protect yourself from potentially life-threatening conditions. Here are five warning signs that may be symptomatic of an asbestos-related illness:
1.Shortness of breath
When you breathe in asbestos fibers, it results in a build-up of scar-like tissue in your lungs, known as asbestosis. This scar tissue can cause a loss of lung function that makes it difficult to breathe. Shortness of breath is often the first sign of asbestos illness.
2. Swollen fingertips
Roughly half of all asbestos exposure cases display swollen fingers as a symptom. Fingertips that appear wider and rounder than usual could be a sign of an asbestos-related condition.
3. Persistent dry cough
A persistent dry cough is another common sign of asbestos exposure. Even decades later, individuals may develop a constant dry cough due to the development of scar tissue on the lungs over time.
A wheezing, whistling or crackling sound when you breathe is the result of inflammation present in the lungs. These symptoms are usually most apparent when you take a deep breath. If you notice ongoing wheezing, it could be a sign of asbestos illness.
When combined with the above symptoms, fatigue may also be a sign of asbestos diseases. It may indicate lung cancer or mesothelioma if you feel extreme tiredness along with shortness of breath or swollen fingertips.
While there is no cure for asbestosis, there are treatments that can help you manage or reduce symptoms and prevent the disease from worsening. If you believe you were exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos, be sure to share your symptoms and concerns with your doctor right away.