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5 diseases caused by asbestos

Asbestos fibers are hazardous materials. When the fibers separate, they become tiny pieces that can easily enter your lungs when you breathe. If you inhale asbestos fibers, you may develop harmful diseases, or the fibers may get stuck in your lungs and cause irritation. Here are some of the adverse effects this may cause:

1. Mesothelioma

Chances are you hear about mesothelioma on a regular basis from TV commercials, internet ads or word-of-mouth. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer in the membranes near your lungs, chest cavity or other organs. Signs include:

  • Chronic coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain in the rib cage
  • Fluid buildup near the lungs
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Lumps or pain in the stomach

It can take decades after asbestos exposure for mesothelioma symptoms to show up.

2. Asbestosis

Asbestosis is a condition that occurs when your lungs are scarred by asbestos. Symptoms of asbestosis are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chronic coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Permanent lung damage

If you have asbestosis, you are at risk of developing lung cancer.

3. Lung cancer

Lung cancer consists of a tumor that blocks the air passages in your lungs. Symptoms include:

  • Respiratory infections
  • Chronic coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing

Smoking also increases your risk of having lung cancer.

4. Pleural disease

This is a lung condition that results in the membrane near your lungs and chest to change. Signs you may have pleural disease include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast and shallow breathing
  • Fever and chills
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A sore throat
  • Sharp pain in the lungs
  • Chest tightness

Sometimes, a pleural disease will simply result in lungs that do not function as efficiently, so the condition may be difficult to detect.

5. Throat cancer

Asbestos may cause you to develop cancer in your throat or voice box. 

  • Coughing
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A sore throat
  • Ear pain

If you believe you are at risk of health problems related to asbestos, you should seek medical and legal help.

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