Asbestos is a natural mineral used in many products since the 1920’s. Asbestos was a very popular material due to its great qualities such as its, high resistance to heat, flexibility, and it was cheaper than its counterparts. Being exposed to asbestos should not be taken lightly as it is the leading cause of mesothelioma cancer.
Signs and symptoms of mesothelioma generally appear 20-50 years after you were exposed. The tiny asbestos fibers can be inhaled and lodged in your lungs where they will lay dormant for many years and then begin to cause irritation. Signs of mesothelioma are similar to pneumonia or the flu; coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, and suppressed appetite. Mesothelioma can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation; however there is currently no cure. Early detection though is essential as it can vastly improve your survival rate.
Asbestos Exposure to Veterans
Asbestos was used widely in almost every branch of the military throughout the 19th century. Navy veterans or shipyard workers in this era are most at risk because warships were covered in this fireproofing insulation. Shipyard workers were helping transport large amounts of asbestos on and off ships regularly. Ship repairmen were in constant contact with asbestos working in the boiler rooms. Veterans should get regular chest x-rays as a health precaution.
Asbestos on Construction Sites
The use of asbestos was fitted in nearly every home built before 1978; asbestos was still used in construction after this date, but in smaller quantities. Generally, asbestos does not cause health problems unless its fibers are released into the air, so many homes built before the ’80s still contain asbestos. Evidence has proven that inhaling small asbestos fibers can lead to a variety of health issues. Products that contain asbestos are not easy to identify on sight, so it is important for construction they cannot be determined by sight alone. Asbestos can be found in;
- Water pipes
- Roofing and floor tiles
Maintaining your Health
If you worked in a profession that used asbestos containing products it is in your best interest to inform your physician. If you were exposed to large amounts of asbestos they may recommend regular chest x-rays, as you will not have signs or symptoms until it is too late and has already developed. For more information on mesothelioma and asbestos visit Asbestos.com.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have any questions, we have patient advocates available for you or loved ones 24/7 at 1-800-815-7924. Visit our page on Facebook and Google+ for the latest updates on mesothelioma and asbestos.