Asbestos Diseases

Difference of benign and serious asbestos diseases

Exposure to asbestos dust has, in most cases, a high health risk to develop asbestos diseases. These dusts are so microscopic fibers that make it across all respiratory defense barriers and lodged in the alveoli of the lungs, causing the development of two types of diseases:

Benign, not life threatening as:

Pleural plaques: calcified or not, are the most common form of pleura-pulmonary lesions related to asbestos. They are asymptomatic and do not cause impairment of respiratory function. They are not the starting point of a possible mesothelioma and simply represent an exposure stigma. They grow slowly, with a latency of 15 to 30 years. The extent of exposure (amount of inhaled fibers) can be determined by reference to the occurrence or extent of the plaques since they are sometimes present after low exposures.

The visceral pleural thickening: is a fibrosis of the visceral pleura and / or synechia (a joining of two tissue or 2 parts of a normally separate member) of both pleurae, secondary to an intra-pleural inflammatory reaction. The visceral pleural thickening can be extended and cause restrictive ventilatory impairment, pain and dyspnea.

The Benin pleural effusion: is the anomaly the most frequently observed during the first 20 years after initial exposure to asbestos fibers. It is characterized by the presence of fluid in the pleural cavity. This asbestos related pathology is the only one that may occur in the first 10 years of exposure; it’s time to onset can vary from 1 to 50 years.

Serious diseases that sicken and can cause death as:

Asbestosis: an incurable disease characterized by pulmonary fibrosis consequent to an accumulation of asbestos fibers in the alveoli of the lungs. These fibers cause inflammation in the lung tissue, inducing the appearance of scar tissue. As a result, the lung tissue thickens and becomes less elastic and more fibrous. Therefore, lung capacity is reduced and breathing difficulties are observed as: dyspnea / shortness of breath at rest and during exercise accompanied by a chronic cough. The evolution of this disease is slow; it may be detected after 15 to 20 years of exposure to asbestos fibers. The prescribed medical treatment is to control some of its symptoms.

Lung cancer: the risk of developing lung cancer is higher in people exposed to long-term asbestos fibers. This risk increases even more dramatically if the affected person smokes. Lung cancer develops slowly. Indeed, 30 years may last between the first inhalation of asbestos fibers and the development of lung cancer. Here are the symptoms observed in a person with this disease: chronic cough, chronic hoarseness (alteration, change in voice), sputum / phlegm with the presence of blood and chronic breathlessness.

Mesothelioma: a rare and highly malignant cancer, which reaches either the envelope of the lung (pleura: tissue between the lungs and ribs) or the envelope of the abdomen (peritoneum membrane that surrounds the organs in the abdomen). The second type is more prevalent than the first. The latency of this cancer is long. Indeed, from 15 to 50 years may last between the first asbestos fibers contact and the manifestation of the cancer. The average duration is between 35 to 40 years. Once mesothelioma appeared, it causes the death of the person within 4 to 24 months.

If you have any doubt about the presence of asbestos in your home, it is important to conduct an audit to perform asbestos decontamination work as soon as possible to ensure security and peace of mind for not getting one of the asbestos diseases.

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