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Asbestos Exposure Symptoms - Mesothelioma, Asbestosis, Lung Cancer

By Edited Jun 22, 2015 0 4

If you think you may be showing signs of asbestos exposure symptoms, it's important that you see a health professional for a proper diagnosis. The abatement of this harmful mineral can take up to 30 years or more in some cases to start showing any signs. There are many different kinds of asbestos exposure symptoms to look for. Each condition associated with the effects of the abatement has different warning signs that come at different stages in your life. Every time you inhale any of these tiny fibers, they get stuck in your lungs and stay there for years. When enough of it starts to add up, you increase the risk of experiencing asbestos exposure symptoms many years later.

Early Asbestos Exposure Symptoms and Warning Signs

One of the main reasons that the cancers and ailments derived from inhaling these minerals are so feared by many, is because of how they sneak up on you. There are relatively no known early warning signs of asbestos exposure symptoms. And even if there were any--like shortness of breath or a pain in your chest perhaps--at such early stages in the cancer's development, it's likely that those may not be signs of any cancers, and possibly just evidence of a less serious condition such as a chest cold.

Most asbestos exposure symptoms don't begin to manifest until 15-30 years after initial inhalation. With the lack of early warning signs, it makes that wait all the more dangerous. Normally, you won't even notice anything until the cancer has actually gotten to a life-threatening stage. It's important that you see a health professional immediately if you think you have succumbed to the inhalation of these fibers in the past. Your doctor can figure out if you are indeed showing any asbestos exposure symptoms.

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms: Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma is one of the most common types of cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Symptoms of mesothelioma will range depending on the severity of it and what kind it is. There are 4 types of mesothelioma: pleural; peritoneal; pericardial; and the most uncommon of them all, testicular.

Pleural Mesothelioma

Pleural mesothelioma is the type that occurs in almost 75% of the malignant mesothelioma cases, making it the most common kind of them all. It mainly affects the pleura, which is located in the lining of the lungs. Here are some of the more common asbestos exposure symptoms from this type of cancer:

  • Dry or raspy cough that persists
  • Hemoptysis (coughing up blood in phlegm)
  • Dysphagia (hard to swallow)
  • Night sweats or fever
  • Unexplained weight loss (more than 10% body weight)
  • Fatigue
  • Painful breathing
  • Pain in chest or ribs that lasts
  • Dyspnea (shortness of breath)
  • Lumps on chest under skin

Peritoneal Mesothelioma

About 10-20% of the approximately 2,500 annual reported cases of mesothelioma are peritoneal. This cancer starts out in the mesothelial cells that work to build the peritoneum, a membranous layer in your abdomen. Asbestos exposure symptoms related to peritoneal mesothelioma include:

  • Night sweats or fever
  • Fatigue
  • Lumps on abdomen under skin
  • Anemia
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation (in general, any change in bowel habits or regularity)
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen

Pericardial Mesothelioma

Pericardial mesothelioma effects the heart and accounts for over half of all pericardial tumors, and about 1 to 6 percent of all mesothelioma cases. Pericardial mesothelioma will start in the pericardium, which is a membrane that protects the heart and is made up of the mesothelial cells. Some common asbestos exposure symptoms of pericardial mesothelioma include:
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Fever or night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Recurring chest pain
  • Dyspnea (hard to swallow)

Testicular Mesothelioma

Testicular mesothelioma is by far the most rare type of disease associated with this toxin. There are less than 100 recorded cases over the last 6 decades of testicular mesothelioma. Most patients experience subtle asbestos exposure symptoms of the disease with small lumps that are not necessarily painful.

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms: Asbestosis

Asbestosis is one of the most common diseases and also one of the most dangerous. Many times the asbestos exposure symptoms of asbestosis do not start showing any signs until a good 20 to 30 years after inhaling the fibers. The diagnosis of asbestosis is becoming more and more abundant due to the fact that it was about 20-30 years ago when the dangers of these fibers first came to light.

The asbestos exposure symptoms of asbestosis are very similar to those of several other conditions including the common cold, COPD, heartburn, or asthma. This is why it is important to see a doctor at the first sign of asbestosis, especially if you think you have succumbed to abatement in the past. Many of the early warning signs of asbestosis include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Pain in chest while breathing
  • Clubbed fingers

Asbestos Exposure Symptoms: Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is also a prevalent type of ailment amongst those who have inhaled abatement minerals in the past. Lung cancer is one of the top killers in America, and it's now apparent that smoking isn't the only culprit. It is estimated that about 4% of all lung cancer cases in America stem from asbestos exposure. Symptoms will vary depending on how advanced the cancer is as well as other factors surrounding your health.

Early Warning Signs

  • Coughing
  • Pain in the chest, shoulder, or back
  • Change in color or amount of phlegm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Recurrent lung problems, such as bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Coughing up phlegm or mucus, especially if it is tinged with blood
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing

Signs of Advanced Lung Cancer

  • Loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches, bone or joint pain
  • Bone fractures not related to accidental injury
  • Neurological effects, like memory loss
  • Neck or facial swelling
  • General weakness
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots

Other Kinds of Asbestos Exposure Symptoms

The conditions outlined in this article are but a few of the many different ailments associated with the inhalation of these harmful minerals and fibers. As time goes on, more and more cases of asbestos exposure symptoms are beginning to arise, and more conditions are being diagnosed because of it. If you think you have breathed in any of these fibers in the past, it is essential that you see a doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are showing any signs of a health problem. There is a lot of valuable information on this topic on the web as well as the library to research while you wait for your appointment to come.

Article references: www.asbestos.com



May 2, 2010 1:16pm
Great article. Very informative, too! It's always good to educate ourselves with these kinds of things. :-)
May 11, 2010 8:07pm
Fantastic article! Many people were exposed to asbetos before it was really considered dangerous. We are responsible for our own health, and need to pay attention to it.
May 11, 2010 10:55pm
Thanks Sookie! You too Sapphire! After researching for this article I'm kind of paranoid...How would you know if you inhaled anything years ago, and how would you know if it was enough to hurt you? You don't know...until it's already too late. That's scary!
Aug 7, 2010 1:56am
This is an excellent article Travis!
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