What are the symptoms of asbestos exposure?

Do you know what happens when you inhale asbestos fibers? Absolutely nothing! Just kidding. Inhaling these tiny fibers can actually lead to a silent killer disease known as asbestosis or mesothelioma. Sounds pretty scary, right? Well, it’s not exactly something you want to mess around with. If you think that you may have been exposed to asbestos in your workplace or home, here’s what you need to know about the symptoms.

Let’s start with some background information

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that has been used for centuries in various forms for its fireproofing and insulating properties. It was commonly used in buildings until it was discovered how harmful it could be if breathed into our lungs. When airborne and left undisturbed for long periods of time, this toxic substance can make its way deep into your respiratory system causing irreversible damage over time.

The Signs & Symptoms

It’s important to note that we don’t simply develop symptoms overnight; they typically appear after years of contact with asbestos-containing materials (ACM) without proper protection. The following are general signs and symptoms associated with being exposed to ACM:

1. Shortness of Breath

Breathing normally becomes challenging over time as scarring from ingested fibers constrict lung capacity.

2. Chest Pain

Difficulty breathing out also brings on chest pain which worsens over time.

3. Fatigue

The body uses precious energy stores trying desperately to breathe properly leading the affected individual feeling weak tired all day.

4. Chronic coughing

Frequent coughing starts becoming more frequent elevating phlegm regularly produced by bronchitis which eventually manifests itself into an all-day ordeal.

5. Finger Clubbing

Unusual swelling within finger tips making them bulky or even deformed – impaired blood oxygenation due to lung restriction may go on for long to dangerous stages.

6. Appetite loss

Calcified pleural plaques that result from asbestos exposure tend to interfere in the release of hormones and digestive fluids leading to a weakened digestion system overall

The ‘Latency Period’

This is the period between initial exposure and the manifestation of symptoms, which can range anywhere from 10 – 50 years. Most individuals are diagnosed with mesothelioma around age 60 considering how long it takes for this diagnosis type to finally manifest itself given significant latency periods before asbestosis’ effects take root enough for obvious impacts.

Protecting yourself against asbestos:

If you work or live in an older building, your chances of being exposed increase – so here are some things you need to do:

  1. Find out whether there is any ACM within reach especially where you breathe, walls insulation sealant or even attics and crawl spaces under flooring.
  2. Have qualified professionals securely remove any found within immediate areas as this should never be done without proper training (too risky).
  3. If removal isn’t possible prioritize emphasizing protecting people at highest risk such as fitters and pipe-layers leaving those who aren’t directly involved safe from airborne particles intentionally.
  4. Use personal protective equipment like mask respirators gloves or coveralls when working near suspected materials during renovations/demolitions restricting dust movement much needed ongoing.

Don’t wait until it’s too late! If you think that asbestos might be present where you work or live – be sure that all necessary precautions have been taken care off so if contracted nothing regrets will linger on about having knowledge over potential hazards!


Exposure to asbestos poses serious health risks down the road making early detection essential for complete recovery ensuring better management options after investigation possibilities confirmed by healthcare specialists following several tests focused upon above-mentioned symptoms signals showing up within them just don’t take any chances when it comes to dealing with this dangerous mineral!

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