How Does Asbestos Harm the Body?
Exposure to asbestos has been linked to the development of mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious respiratory diseases and cancers. Unfortunately, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that a connection was made between asbestos exposure and those serious conditions, and by that time, millions of people had already been exposed to asbestos fibers and thousands of people had passed away from asbestos-related illnesses.
Asbestos Exposure and the Body
Asbestos fibers enter the body through the nose by inhalation or the mouth from ingestion (usually by drinking). These fibers can become lodged in the body cavities or organs and may cause inflammation or infection. Common areas that are impacted include:
- Esophagus, where cancer can develop from swallowing asbestos fibers
- Heart, which can cause blood flow to the lungs to be impaired and cause the heart to enlarge or fail
- Pleural membrane of the lungs, which can make breathing painful or even impossible due to scar tissue that forms
- Stomach and intestines, where swallowed fibers may build up and cause cancer
Mesothelioma is a cancer that can develop in the mesothelial cells that line these organs and body cavities. An estimated 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year, most of which are from patients who were exposed to asbestos in the workplace.
Symptoms of mesothelioma can arise between 20 and 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos occurs and they often resemble symptoms of less serious conditions, such as influenza. These symptoms may include chest pain, persistent coughing, weight loss, fatigue and shortness of breath.
Learn More About the Dangers of Asbestos
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with mesothelioma in the Bay Area or elsewhere in California, contact an experienced lawyer at Kaiser Gornick LLP.
Contact us at (800) 824-8234 to speak with an attorney or schedule a free initial consultation online.