By examining suspected asbestos fibers under a microscope, lab analysts can conclusively determine if asbestos exposure has occurred.
Otherwise, the exposure victim must rely on either physical signs that can mirror other exposures or delayed symptoms of asbestos-related conditions that have extremely long latency periods. These conditions can include mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, other cancers and a lung condition known as asbestosis.
Of these, asbestosis can display the most immediate symptoms while conforming with a condition not technically as severe or life-threatening as asbestos-derived cancers.
Therefore, a potential exposure victim can evaluate their condition by:
- Narrowing down environments or objects suspected of contamination for asbestos fiber testing
- Looking for physical symptoms of asbestos exposure, such as asbestos warts or asbestosis
- Paying attention to early symptoms of mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer and other conditions
Narrowing Down Environments or Objects Suspected of Asbestos Contamination
Since most asbestos exposures happen as a result of occupational exposure, educating yourself on the high-risk industries that are most likely to result in exposure can help. Additionally, you can learn which environments and job sites have the highest risk of asbestos exposure.
Common occupations and job sites associated with exposure include:
- Demolition of structures built prior to 1980
- Shipbuilding occupations and shipyards
- Long-term stationing on a Navy or mercantile vessel
- Industrial manufacturing, especially steel and asbestos-containing products
- Buildings in poor repair constructed prior to 1980
Review our list of industries with a high risk of asbestos exposure to learn more about your odds of having been exposed. If you think you have a high chance or just want to rule out the possibility of exposure, have your work clothes and work sites in question submitted for asbestos fiber testing.
Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure and Possible Asbestosis
Unfortunately, asbestos fibers tend to travel far down the esophagus or trachea after having been swallowed or inhaled before embedding themselves. This behavior means detecting the fibers before, during or after passage can be difficult, if not impossible. Potential symptoms include an itchy throat or lung irritation, similar to other inhaled irritants like dust or fiberglass.
Skin exposure to asbestos can create “asbestos warts,” which grow around the fibers and allow for easy testing.
Beyond these immediate exposure signs, an asbestosis condition can indicate past exposure. Symptoms of asbestosis can include:
- Crackling sound in the lungs while breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty swallowing
- Blood in sputum
- Facial or neck swelling
- Elevated blood pressure
- Deformity in the fingers (clubbed hands)
- Sudden weight loss or appetite loss
As these symptoms emerge, physicians can examine your lungs and air passages for signs of scarring or embedded asbestos fibers.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma and Asbestos-Related Cancers
Asbestos cancers are severe and typically have life-threatening prognoses. Symptoms for these cancers can take 15 to 40 years or more to emerge, often meaning that the condition has progressed significantly since exposure.
Nevertheless, these symptoms can be the first indication that someone was exposed.
Review our following pages for more information on symptoms and potential diagnosis for asbestos-related cancers:
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a type of mesothelioma that was related to the prolonged exposure to asbestos, contact Mesowatch. Our team understands the importance to get connected with the right asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers that have dedicated their practice with the unique focus on asbestos exposure lawsuits.
Get immediate help now and a free confidential case evaluation. Every claim is unique and getting connected with the right mesothelioma law firms is a crucial factor when filing an asbestos lawsuit.