In today’s world, asbestos is commonly associated with lung cancer and other severe respiratory issues – as it should. It’s hard to imagine then that just a few decades ago, asbestos was considered a principal insulation material in the construction of homes, offices and other buildings. Discovering its extremely harmful impacts on our breathing by the time the 1990s rolled around has practically outlawed its use since then. However, the harmful effects remain.
There are, of course, many structures still standing that were built prior to the 90s that still contain asbestos. And when renovations are needed, it’s important to have the asbestos removed. Sadly, this presents a danger to anyone who isn’t protecting themselves from breathing in asbestos fibres. As we explained in our last blog, the worst possible result of doing so is developing a cancer known as mesothelioma. Of course, that isn’t the only health problem associated with asbestos.
We also mentioned a chronic lung disease known as asbestosis. As you can tell by its name, it is directly attributed to the inhalation of asbestos fibres. And very sadly, it is incurable. Perhaps, even scarier is the fact that, according to Asbestos.com, the disease may not even be diagnosed until decades after exposure occurs. The site goes on to clearly explain how asbestosis is caused and what the long-term effects may be.
“Asbestosis is linked to the straight, thin amphibole fibers that are found in five of the six known types of asbestos,” reports Asbestos.com, “Exposure occurs when someone breathes in the dangerous fibers. Extended exposure can lead to an accumulation of the fibers in lung tissues, setting the stage for long-term fibrosis (scarring). Over time, lung tissues thicken, causing pain and restricting breathing.”
So if asbestosis can be difficult to diagnose, how can one tell if he or she may be suffering from it? Canoe.ca reveals that because asbestosis causes our lungs to lose their elasticity, it makes it harder for them to fill with oxygen. Obviously, this impacts breathing. The first symptom, therefore, is a shortness of breath, especially when exercising. The more the disease progresses, the harder breathing will be for the sufferer.
Chest pain and coughing practically become the norm. Canoe.ca goes on to reveal a less obvious and even strange symptom associated with asbestosis. “You may display what is known as clubbing of the fingertips (they thicken and enlarge), or develop a blue colour under your nails and a bluish tinge around your mouth,” reports the website. As bad as this all sounds though, hope should not necessarily be lost. There is somewhat of a silver lining when it comes to asbestosis.
“The prognosis is often positive,” assures Canoe.ca, “Because asbestosis is not a form of lung cancer or mesothelioma, people can live many years, even decades, with the disease. However, because the condition gets worse over time, patients will require increased treatment as they age.” With that said, it still goes without saying that contracting the disease should be avoided at all costs. And, of course, this involves avoiding exposure to asbestos.
At DF Technical & Consulting Ltd., there is nothing more important to us than ensuring the safety of your breathing air. As a result, we offer a number of important air quality services including our Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM) Services. If you are renovating or looking to buy a new property, it’s important we check for asbestos. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.