How did you get asbestosis? Biology explains it, doesn't excuse it.
How did you get asbestosis? Biology can explain how you developed asbestosis, but there is no good excuse for knowingly exposing people to asbestos. Asbestos exposure is the cause of asbestosis and many other diseases of the lung and nearby organs. Mesothelioma and other asbestos-related cancers can be caused by light amounts of exposure, but asbestosis can only be caused by long-term, heavy exposure to asbestos. (1)
Doctors cannot undo the damage that comes from years of asbestos exposure, but they have treatments to relieve the symptoms of asbestosis. Before they could treat anyone's asbestosis, doctors had to retrace the steps of the asbestos in your lungs: how did the asbestos fibers get in there? Once the asbestos was in your lungs, what did it do? What can they do to combat the toxic effects of long-term asbestos exposure?
Weitz & Luxenberg helps people who are suffering with this disease seek compensation from the companies that exposed them to asbestos. Our firm offers this brief lesson in asbestosis biology to further public awareness of this chronic lung disease, and to help anyone currently suffering its effects.
Abestosis biology: the more your lungs fight asbestos, the more asbestos fights back
If you inhale large amounts of asbestos dust for many years, some of the asbestos' airborne fibers can get stuck in your alveoli. The alveoli are “the tiny sacs inside your lungs where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in your blood.” (1) The alveoli receive air from the bronchioles, which are tiny airways in your lungs.
Normally, your body filters out dust, but asbestos particles are able to pass through these filters and get into your lungs. The Texas Department of State Health Services explains how asbestos particles damage lungs from the inside out:
“The lungs have cleaning cells called macrophages, which eat up any foreign particles that might make it down that deep into the lungs. When these macrophages try to eat the asbestos fibers the macrophages are cut open, releasing their digestive enzymes (juices). The digestive juices in turn injure the lungs, forming scars called fibrosis.
“As more and more macrophages try to eat the asbestos fibers, more and more damage occurs. The large-scale lung damage or fibrosis that occurs is called "Asbestosis" after the particle that caused the damage. The negative health effects associated with asbestos may take years to develop.” (2)
Asbestos fibers cut open the lung's cleaning cells, and the fluid inside the cells scars the lungs, which leads to the specific type of pulmonary fibrosis (the scarring of the lungs) known in this case as asbestosis. It is a slow and irreversible process, and it is unique to asbestos inhalation.
What does asbestosis do to the lungs?
The asbestos fibers first irritate and then scar lung tissue, interfering with your lungs' ability to send oxygen to your blood. As asbestosis progresses, more and more lung tissue becomes scarred, which makes it hard for air to get through your body. Eventually, your lung tissue becomes so stiff, as a result of the scarring, that it cannot expand and contract, and this stiffness makes breathing very difficult. (1)
Asbestosis biology and asbestosis law: more information is available
For more information on asbestosis and the biology behind it, the National Institutes of Health's PubMed Health website has a page on asbestosis (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001177/), as does the American Lung Association (http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/asbestosis/understanding-asbestosis.html).
If you are interested in learning more about your legal options concerning your asbestosis, contact Weitz & Luxenberg today for a free legal consultation, either by calling or filling out a form. You have options, both medical and legal, and you have a right to know them.