AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health

You are working on a construction project. The insulation in the attic is old, so you’re going to replace it. Wait! That insulation may be made of asbestos, a mineral fiber that, when inhaled, can cause you a number of serious health conditions. If you know how to avoid asbestos, you can stay healthy. And if you know what ailments to look for with asbestos exposure, you can get better treatment faster.

asbestos Ask A Doctor: Could Your Health Condition Be Cause By Asbestos Exposure?

What is asbestos, and how does it affect me?

Asbestos is a mineral fiber made of six naturally-occurring silicates, found in rock or soil. The use of asbestos is most widely-known in insulation used in homes and other buildings. Its flame-retardant nature has made it an attractive component of many products, including:

  • attic and wall insulation
  • vinyl flooring
  • roofing and siding
  • paint and patching compounds
  • fabrics

As well as various parts of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) and automobile systems. If you disturb materials containing asbestos, for example by removing old asbestos insulation, you release the fibers into the air. Those fibers can be ingested or inhaled and pose a number of potential threats to your health.

What health problems can be caused by asbestos?

If your exposure to asbestos is frequent or prolonged, your lungs may form a buildup of asbestos fibers. This ailment has been known to cause several diseases, such as

  • Asbestosis
  • Pleural plaques
  • Pleural effusions
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Other cancers

Asbestosis is an inflammation of the lungs that can cause scar tissue, making it difficult to breathe. Exposure to asbestos can also cause other lung problems related to the pleura, which is the lining of the lungs. Pleural plaques are a change in the pleural membrane, while pleural effusions are collections of fluid between the lungs and the chest wall. Mesothelioma is a rare cancer of the pleura. Asbestos is also linked to cancer of the lung cells, and other cancers such as those of the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys and brain.

How can I avoid interaction with asbestos?

If you know or suspect that your home has asbestos, leave it alone, as disturbing it is what causes the unhealthy exposure. If you are remodeling an older home and you are not sure of the contents of the building materials, hire a trained professional to take samples to test the house for asbestos. Do not do this on your own. If asbestos is present, they can advise you on the safest course of action to remove the sources of asbestos and help you find safer building materials.

If you work in the construction or other general industries, you may be exposed to asbestos as a part of your job. Know that you have rights to be safe under these conditions. Your employer is required to provide specific regulated areas where asbestos is handled. Only trained employees who are wearing protective respiratory equipment are allowed to work with asbestos in that area.

What if I have been exposed?

If you have been around disturbed asbestos, you should seek medical attention. If you are unsure of your exposure, but have one of the following health complaints you may have an asbestos-related condition:

  • Cough with mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightening
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Chest pain
  • Dry, crackling sound in the lungs

Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to effective therapy, so do not procrastinate.

Asbestos exposure can be life-threatening. By being aware of the equipment and materials you use, and by taking care to use proper safety measures, you can prevent asbestos from being your problem.

About Author : Nicole lives in Western Australia. She has been writing about health and health concerns for years, including everything from the most common causes of common illnesses to the best companies for asbestos inspections in Perth.
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