Diagnosed with Asbestosis after exposure to asbestos? Let a Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestosis lawyer assist you.
In Libby, Montana, Tara breathes in. She breathes out. Each breath is shorter than the last. She kisses the foreheads of her two children as they go to school.
Tara suffers from an incurable disease called Asbestosis – a disease she developed because of her husband. Her husband did not do anything intentional. He simply worked in the local asbestos mine, and at the end of every work day he came home and draped his jacket over an easy chair. It was this chair that Tara would often read or take naps. It was there that she breathed in tiny fibers that had fallen from her husband’s jacket. Those fibers flew down her throat and clung to the tiny grape-like alveoli of her lungs. Those fibers tore away at her lungs quietly and subtly. Now, the insides of her lungs are like the skin of a burn victim – covered in irreversible scars.
What is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis, alternately known as pulmonary fibrosis, is a respiratory disease brought on by inhaling asbestos fibers. (Google Health) Asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral, is classified as a human carcinogen by several prominent government organizations, such as the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they scar lung tissue, which compromises breathing. “Scarred lung tissue does not expand and contact normally, and cannot perform gas exchange.” (Google Health)
In addition to asbestosis, asbestos exposure can also lead to Mesothelioma, a rare, but deadly cancer, and asbestos lung cancer.
How severe is Asbestosis?
It varies from person to person. The severity of an asbestosis diagnosis is contingent on the following factors:
The age of the afflicted
The overall health of the afflicted
How long the afflicted was exposed to asbestos fibers
How much asbestos was inhaled by the afflicted
The symptoms a medical professional will look for include:
Chest Pain/ Tightness- This is caused by constant coughing, pressure on the tendons and muscles between the rubs and/or the accumulation of fluid.
Frequent Coughing- A person with asbestosis will produce a dry, persistent, hacking cough that sounds more violent than coughs associated with the common cold.
Shortness of breath: As asbestosis progresses, lung capacity diminishes. The ability to perform activities requiring little physical exertion (such as walking from one end of a room to the other) is complicated.
What Is Done to Diagnose and Treat Asbestosis?
The following diagnostic tests can determine whether or not you have asbestosis:
Pulmonary Function Tests:These exams determine the functionality of lungs, by measuring lung capacity and airflow. Your doctor “may ask you to blow as hard as you can into a spirometer (an air measurement device). Some pulmonary function tests measure the amount of gas exchanged across the membrane between your alveoli and capillary blood vessels.” (CNN.com)
Chest X- Ray: A chest X-ray detects abnormalities in your lungs before any symptoms appear. “On an X-ray, areas of scar tissue that appear as small, scattered, opaque areas on the lining of your lungs are called pleural plaques.” Excessive areas of white indicate asbestosis, and “if the disease is advanced, your entire lung may have a honeycomb appearance.” (CNN.com)
Computerized Tomography: Computerized tomography scans operate similarly to Chest X-rays, except the information they provide is more thorough and detailed.
Currently, there is no cure for asbestosis. In order to keep the disease from advancing, a medical professional will advise you to do everything possible to refrain from further asbestos exposure. They may also prescribe “aerosol medication, which thin secretions in the lungs.” (Google Health) If those are not effective, you may need breathing apparatus or a lung transplant.
Who is at Risk of Developing Asbestosis?
People with careers in construction are at serious risk of developing asbestosis, because they are exposed to higher concentrations of asbestos than the rest of us. Employees “who were involved in the mining, milling, manufacturing, installation of removal of asbestos products,” (CNN.com) can develop Asbestosis, Mesothelioma or Asbestos Lung Cancer.
In the interest of securing profits for their company, employees either fail to thoroughly inform their employees of the dangers of asbestos, or, in some unfortunate cases, they withhold any and all information. As a result of employer negligence, between the years of 1995 and 2005, there were “632 asbestosis deaths in New York” alone. (NIOSH)
The common thread that unites Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and Absestos Lung Cancer, is that their symptoms are not typically apparent until years after a person’s initial exposure. This can complicate the treatment process.
Weitz & Luxenberg: Leading Asbestosis Attorneys
Weitz & Luxenberg has advocated of behalf of clients who developed Asbestosis, Mesothelioma or Asbestos Lung Cancer as a result of being exposed to asbestos in their home or work environments.
For over two decades, Weitz & Luxenberg has set an unmatched standard of excellence in asbestos related litigation. We have achieved more mass tort verdicts and settlements than most firms in America and we have the resources and legal experience necessary to help fortify your case.
Please complete the form on this page for a free legal consultation regarding your asbestosis case. A Weitz & Luxenberg representative will contact you as soon as possible.
Google Health: http://health.google.com/health/ref/Asbestosis
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/