The coming information is important because Asbestos is found in many old buildings and may harm your health. The effects of exposure to any friable Asbestos is hazardous because it is carcinogenic substance that may cause many harmful effect such as asbestosis, pleural disorders, and mesothelioma or lung cancer depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.
What is asbestos?
Asbestos is a name given to a group of six minerals that are naturally in the earth. All types of asbestos tend to break into very tiny fibers and float freely in the air, easily inhaled causing disease. Asbestos minerals have separable long microscopic fibers that are strong and extremely durable enough to be spun and woven. Asbestos are resistant to fire, most chemical reactions and breakdowns, because of these properties asbestos has been used for many years in a wide range of different commercial and industrial capacities.
How asbestos exposure can occur?
You may be exposed to asbestos if inhaled asbestos fibers from rocks, soil, or products containing asbestos when disturbed or damaged in any way, causing fibers to release into the air. Asbestos exposure is not a problem as long as it is not disturbed- being a mass-. Asbestos exposure is likely to occur during occipital workers where asbestos may be disturbed such as product use, demolition work, construction and building or non-occipital workers such as family members while home maintenance and repair. According to the World health Organization (WHO), about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace.
The dangers of asbestos;
When asbestos are disturbed in a way or another its tiny fibers or dust are released into the air. When the fibers are inhaled it can become trapped in the body in lining membrane that surrounds the lungs and stay there for many years. Over time these inhaled high levels fibers can accumulate and the body’s immune system may try to fight or kill these fibers over time causing scar-like tissue and chronic inflammation appears . This long standing inflammatory process leads gradually to the damage of the lungs due to the abnormal growth and division of cells in the mesothelium- the membranous linings that surround our lungs, stomach and abdominal cavity- over time leading to serious health problems. These health problems are manifested in difficulty breathing, often a cough, and in severe cases disability and death.
What are Asbestos-related diseases?
There are a number of serious health problems that have been associated with the exposure to Asbestos.
a- Asbestos Lung Cancer;
According to the United States government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), those who are exposed to high amount for a long period of time to asbestos fibers face a higher risk of developing a lung disease. When the fibers are inhaled, they get lodged in lung tissue and cause problems. The risk is of a greater degree for smokers it certainly aggravate the disease,
b- Gastrointestinal Cancer;
The EPA has also identified gastrointestinal cancers as possibly resulting from the toxic mineral asbestos through ingestion of asbestos-tainted drinking water.
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and scarring disease but non-cancerous disease of the lungs which leads to long-term breathing complications. It is usually manifested by shortness of breath and persistent coughing.
It is a rare type of cancer that usually occurs in the thin lining of the heart (the pericardium), lung (pleural lining), chest and the abdomen (the peritoneum).
Malignant Mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer that is very rare and affects the membrane (the thin layer of tissue) lining the lung, the heart, the abdomen, testicles (but this is rare) as well as all the body’s major organs. The fact is, many people are diagnosed with Mesothelioma every year, both in the United States and throughout the world, about 3000 new cases in the United States each year, and many of whom may not even know they were at risk.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma include shortness of breath, pain in the side of the chest or lower back, fluid in the surrounding area of the lungs, fever, cough, excessive sweating, fatigue, sudden weight loss for no known reason, difficulty swallowing(feeling like food gets stuck),hoarseness, nausea, vomiting, tissue, lumps under the chest tissue, swelling of the face, arms, and more.
Some people develop Mesothelioma through exposure to asbestos over a period of time and that mostly happen to them in the workplace and also their family members. It is established to be the only cause of this cancer-till now-. Because it usually takes at least 20 years for malignant mesothelioma to form it is under the form of a deadly disease. Exposure to asbestos for a long time and huge amount and experiencing symptoms is a serious matter; do not wait to get your symptoms checked out. The possibly of having Mesothelioma should be taken extremely serious. The average survival of Mesothelioma when diagnosed as malignant is 4 to 18 months.
How can asbestos affect children?
The answers to many crucial questions are speculative and have yet to be proved, in fact we do not know if exposure to asbestos will result in damaging unborn children or birth defects or other developmental effects in people as there is no direct link to asbestos to affect the child. It is likely that health effects seen in children who were exposed to high levels of asbestos brought home on the clothing of asbestos workers will be similar to the effects seen in adults.
How can families reduce the risk of exposure to asbestos?
Materials containing asbestos don’t pose a health risk if simply walking around their home even if there is asbestos inside as long as there are no distortion or deterioration if left alone. If you suspect that you have past asbestos exposure, contact your state or local health department or the regional offices of EPA.
Is there a medical test to show whether I’ve been exposed to asbestos?
There’s nothing more terrifying than knowing your health is at risk from past asbestos exposure or even continuous exposure. If you were exposed to asbestos see a doctor who is knowledgeable about asbestos disease.
The examination should include, at a minimum:
• a work history
• a medical history and diagnostic tests are needed to evaluate asbestos-related disease.
• a chest x-ray to identify lung changes resulting from asbestos exposure.
• a breathing test to test Lung function.
• a CAT scans also assist in the diagnosis of asbestos-related disease.
Low levels of asbestos fibers does not cause panic effect but higher than average levels can confirm exposure but not determine to have lung cancer.