PART ONE-In the Aftermath of Asbestos: Symptoms Not to Ignore

If you have been exposed in the past to asbestos, symptoms that could be connected to illnesses caused by the dangerous fibers that comprise asbestos-made materials should absolutely not be ignored. In fact, anyone with that chief risk factor for conditions like mesothelioma and asbestosis—asbestos exposure—is advised to maintain a consistent schedule of regular check-ups that include common screening tests for lung damage and other related health effects.

The Deadliest Effect of Asbestos: Symptoms of Mesothelioma

A particularly deadly form of cancer called mesothelioma is caused primarily by exposure to asbestos—in as many as 90 percent of total diagnosed cases. Tragically, mesothelioma life expectancy after diagnosis is usually very grave. Most patients die within a year and a half of being diagnosed. Only a mere 20 percent survive the two-year mark.

Much of the blame for those grim statistics is the difficulty faced in the diagnostic process itself. Because its symptoms are not often viewed as serious until the disease is in its late stages, most victims do not even realize that they are ill until it is too late for treatment to be very effective. Additionally, mesothelioma takes years—usually, decades—to develop, making many people at risk unaware or non-vigilant about their health.

For anyone who has had any (even long-since passed) contact with asbestos, symptoms like the following should be immediate cause for alarm:

-A cough that lasts for longer than a week or two
-Chest or abdominal pain
-Significant, unexplained weight loss
-Chronic feeing of fatigue
-A persistently hoarse or wheezy voice

A Disease Born of Asbestos: Symptoms of Asbestosis

Asbestosis, a lung condition that is exclusive to victims of asbestos exposure, causes breathing complications due to thickening and hardening of the lungs and chest wall. It is another slow-to-develop condition, usually taking at least 20 years to present symptoms, which may include:

-A dry cough that is persistent in nature
-Chest pain
-Clubbing of the fingertips or toes
-Blueness of color seen on fingers or lips
-Shortness of breath or difficulty taking a deep breath
-A feeling of tightness in the chest

Asbestosis affects victims in widely varying degrees of severity—from mild to very severe—but invariably progresses with time. It can ultimately be fatal, causing eventual failure of the lungs or the right side of the heart.