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Asbestos Related Illness

Asbestos exposure can lead to variety of dangerous diseases including pleural plaques, mesothelioma or asbestosis. If you have suffered any of the above illnesses contact Clearwater Solicitors to determine if you have a compensation claim.

What is Asbestos?

Asbestos is a powerful mineral fiber which is used because it is resistant to heat and has a number of useful purposes such as:-

  • Extraordinary tensile strength;
  • Extraordinary heat resistance;
  • Poor electricity conductance;
  • Chemical resistance.

Because of above qualities asbestos has number of uses in industries. It is used in manufacturing of insulation products, construction products such as roofing, water supply lines, plastic fillers, medical packing and fire blankets and automobile products.

The dangers associated with Asbestos have been known since the early 1900s.  However, it was widely used in flooring, ceilings, roofs, pipes and insulation material. In addition, it was painted onto walls and ceilings.  Due to the dangers posed by asbestos its use has been banned.  However, there are countless buildings which were constructed before the turn of the century which do have Asbestos in them.  Asbestos comes in many different forms. It can be white, brown or blue but it can still be difficult to spot because it is often mixed with other material.

If you work with any of these materials you are more at risk of asbestos exposure and your employer is responsible for making sure you are kept safe. If you have suffered an asbestos related illness at the workplace then you can make a compensation claim for industrial disease.

Diagnosing Asbestos Illness

It can be difficult to diagnose asbestos related illness and disease. Pleural plaques can be easily identified on X-rays. However, other illnesses such as Carcoidosis or Rhuematoid Disease, Extrinsic Allergic Alveolitis and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis have similar symptoms to asbestos related illness and a medical expert can misdiagnose you.

Your doctor will attempt to eliminate the other conditions by:-

  • Discus your employment history or identify other causes of asbestos contact
  • Fibrosis identifiable on CT scans or x-rays
  • Spirometry – air flow measurement
  • Pulmonary function tests – which are advanced breathing tests to measure lung capacities and transfer of air
  • Whether the doctor can hear Inspiratory ralesor cackles when a stethoscope is placed against the patient’s chest
  • Breathing examinations indicate a reduction in your lung capacity is the cause of shortness of breath rather than reduced air flow
  • Rapid deterioration of symptoms

The most common sign of asbestos related illness is the slow onset of shortness of breath and pain in the chest. When examining the lungs the common characteristic of asbestos related illness is the decline in lung capacity.

Asbestos related Diseases

Asbestos exposure occurs when material containing asbestos is damaged or demolished releasing fibers and particles of asbestos into the air.Symptoms of all asbestos related diseases appear decades after the initial exposure but their results can be severe.

Different diseases caused by asbestos exposure are:-

  • Pleural Disease

Exposure of asbestos causes non-cancerous condition called pleural disease. It affects the outer lining of lung or pleura. Pleural infections are of two type, diffused plural thickening and pleural plaques. Pleural plaques are less serious. Pleural diseases can restrict breathing.

  • Asbestosis

This disease occurs with inhalation of asbestos fibers. It disturbs the pulmonary function by decreasing diffusion capacity and restricting the transfer of oxygen into the blood. Asbestosis further decreases total lung capacity. Dry cough and chest stretching are symptoms of asbestosis.

  • Lung Cancer

Chronic exposure of asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer.Asbestos related lung cancers and cancers resulting from smoking alone are almost similar in symptoms and cure.

  • Mesothelioma

Pleural cancer is called mesothelioma. Growth and spreading of mesothelioma is very quick andit is very difficult to diagnose inthe early stages. Therefore, effective treatment of mesothelioma is not very easy.

Is Recovery Possible?

There isno known cure for asbestos related diseases and recovery is not common. As the symptoms advance there are many treatments which can be offered such as:-

1. Oxygen treatment at home may be required to relieve shortness of breath;

2. Respiratory physiotherapy to eliminate discharges from the lungs by chest percussion, postural drainage and vibration;

3. Nebulised medication could be prescribed to help release lung secretions or treat underlying Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Owing to a patient’s reduced lung functions and susceptibility to lung disease it is common to be immunised against pneumococcal influenza.

Can I Be Affected by an Asbestos related Disease?

As Asbestos is used so often in construction many professions are exposed to it. Some of the worst affected are:-

  • Carpenters
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • thermal installation installers
  • Painters
  • Builders
  • Plasters
  • Demolition Workers
  • Decorators
  • Factory Workers
  • Miners

Unfortunately, family and friends of the above professions can also contract Asbestos related disease through exposure from the above professionals.

Claims for Asbestos Related Illness

You can make an compensation claim against your employer if they have failed to protect you from Asbestos. As diagnosis of asbestos related disease is very difficult at the early stages and symptoms occur several years after the initial exposure making a claim is not simple. It can be difficult to collect evidence and witnesses and to contact the insurers of the responsible employer.

It is imperative that you contact an expert in asbestos related industrial disease. Although compensation cannot cure your disease it can help to cover all medical treatment costs and take care of your family members.

If you or a family members has suffered an asbestos related illness as a result of your employer’s negligence then start your compensation claim by calling us on 08000 430 430 or complete our online enquiry form to request a call back.