Asbestosis: The Effects of Asbestos
You’ve probably heard of asbestos before. Widely used in building and construction during the 1940s and 50s (and before the health risks were known), asbestos products were widely used thanks to their durable, fire resistant and insulation properties. Though it's something found almost everywhere, the effects of asbestos exposure can be quite serious. In this article, you'll find information about its effects, more importantly, asbestosis. We’ll also talk about what you can do to detect its presence.
What is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis is a chronic illness that you can get due to prolonged exposure and inhalation of asbestos fibers. When inhaled, asbestos fibers become embedded in the tiny air sacs of the lungs. This then causes irritation and scarring of the lung tissues. After a few years, the damage worsens and stiffens the lungs. This causes the sufferers to experience a shortness of breath. What makes this condition more dangerous is that it takes 10, 20 even up to 40 years before it is detected. By then, the lungs have been damaged quite seriously and the treatment only provides comfort but not a cure for asbestosis.
How do you get it?
As it was previously mentioned, exposure to disturbed asbestos causes this condition. In the past, miners of asbestos and people living near these places were the ones usually affected by the disease. Next were tradesmen who built with and installed walls, roofs, floors, and so forth with asbestos materials. Sufferers were also found living in properties where asbestos was used. Dangerously, when homeowners attempted minor repairs and renovations on older homes, they were potentially exposed to the fibres.
Treatment of Asbestosis
The damage to the lungs causes the patients to have difficulty breathing. Patients are usually prescribed bronchodilators to make it easier to open airway passages. Other treatments include chest percussion, postural drainage, having a humidifier and oxygen therapy. In severe cases, doctors suggest the removal of scar tissue which requires surgery. Though these treatments might give a patient a bit of comfort, the disease remains chronic. The best thing to do is to avoid exposure to asbestos altogether.
Make Sure Your Home is Free of Asbestos
Since the harmful effects of asbestos were discovered, there has been a tremendous effort to remove it wherever it was found. In 2003, all products containing asbestos were banned. Though the chance of contracting asbestos-related diseases is now smaller, it’s important to make every effort to avoid it. Some might be tempted to speed up the process of owning a home and forgo necessary inspections such as an asbestos audit.