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Asbestos and lung disease

This blog has repeatedly commented on the undeniable link between certain kinds of lung disease and exposure to asbestos fibers. Nevertheless, most people in North Carolina do not understand the different kinds of diseases that can be caused by asbestos. The following five conditions all are caused by exposure to asbestos-containing products.

  • Pleural plaque is a thickening and hardening of the tissue surrounding the lungs. Pleural plaque is general asymptomatic.
  • Pleural effusion is an excess of fluid in the pleural space. The fluid can often be removed, and the condition itself may not be serious but it may be a warning sign of another condition.
  • Asbestosis is the scarring of the lung tissue. Asbestosis can increase the risk of lung cancer, especially for persons who smoke.
  • Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung. It can be fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated.
  • Mesothelioma is an especially virulent form of lung cancer, and it is caused almost exclusively by asbestos exposure. Mesothelioma is almost always fatal.

Medical science has verified the causal link between the inhalation of asbestos fibers and the diseases listed above, but no one knows the least amount of fibers that can cause any of these conditions. Anyone who believes that he or she (or a loved one) has been exposed to airborne asbestos fibers should inform his or her physician. A physician can monitor the patient for signs of asbestos-related diseases and commence appropriate treatment if one of the diseases is diagnosed.

Anyone who receives a positive diagnosis of one or more asbestos-related disease may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in bringing claims against asbestos product manufacturers. Such a consultation can provide a helpful evaluation of the case and estimate of the likelihood of recovering damages for medical expenses, lost income and pain and suffering.

Source: National Institutes of Health, "What Are Asbestos-Related Lung Diseases?" accessed on April 5, 2016

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