Asbestos is a group of durable and fire-resistant mineral fibers that has been mined and widely utilized in the past in industries such as automotive, and construction. Through the years, many asbestos-containing products have been removed from houses and buildings as exposure to these fibrous materials may potentially cause respiratory problems, and even cancer. However, living in a home with intact asbestos does not necessarily pose a health hazard.
Asbestos generally becomes a threat when it begins to deteriorate over time, or gets disturbed or damaged. If asbestos is disturbed, its thin microscopic fibers are released into the air, which can stay around your home for years. Once inhaled, these tiny fibers can get trap and build up in your lungs. When these accumulate, they can lead to severe health problems over time. Asbestos exposure can pose serious health issues like:
* Mesothelioma, a kind of cancer that affects the lungs and the abdominal cavity lining.
* Asbestos is, an inflammatory lung condition that permanently scars the lung tissue due to coughing, causing shortness of breath.
* Lung cancer and other lung illnesses such as the thickening of the membranes around the lungs, pleural plaques (changes in the membranes that surround the lungs), and pleural effusions (unusual fluid collections between the lungs and the chest wall).
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of asbestos exposure vary depending on the particular health problem, but the respiratory tract is its most common target.
Symptoms of asbestosis may include shortness of breath, chest pain, chest tightness, loss of appetite, persistent cough with mucus, as well as dry, crackling sound in the lungs when inhaling. Lung cancer, on the other hand, has symptoms that may include coughing up blood, persistent chest pain, wheezing, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, anemia, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.
Meanwhile, mesothelioma’s main symptoms are chest pain and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include bowel obstruction, weight loss, abnormalities in blood clotting, fever, anemia, as well as swelling and pain in the abdomen.
There are many medical conditions that share these symptoms, so suffering from one or several of these does not mean that you have asbestos-related health issue. If you are experiencing some symptoms mentioned above, it would be best to see your doctor.
Where can asbestos be found?
Due to federal regulations, production of materials containing asbestos has been limited. It has even been banned in selected countries, but a few products still use asbestos, including construction materials like cement roofing, insulation, and vinyl, as well as automotive parts like brake pads and gaskets.
Asbestos may be found in a number of places, and asbestos exposure may occur almost anywhere, from your workplace to your home. However, if asbestos fibers are enclosed properly within a product, there would not be any significant risk for your health. With asbestos, potential hazards occur only when the fibers are inhaled.
If you think you have exposed asbestos in your home, call a professional to deal with it safely and properly to eliminate any potential threat to your health.