Asbestos is a dangerous material, and it was widely used within construction and engineering for many decades As such, it can still be found in many structures and buildings and is known to cause problems for those who come into contact with it. Asbestosis and mesothelioma are two such instances of this, and that is why it is so important to understand the dangers of asbestos when discussing asbestosis and mesothelioma. If you are the person responsible for the management of a building, or a public space, it is vital that you understand your role in managing asbestos and protecting those under your care from coming into contact with it.
Quite often you will see the terms mesothelioma and asbestosis put together, and rightfully so, when discussing illnesses associated with exposure to asbestos. Despite this, they are very different, and it is important to understand the differences between the two.
Asbestosis is the disease process where asbestos fibres are inhaled into the lung and begin to accumulate, destroying the architecture of the lung. The lung is scarred over a gradual period of time, eventually becoming stiff, preventing airflow, air exchange, and the ability to expand. Asbestosis is not a cancer, instead a chronic lung disorder.
Mesothelioma, on the other hand, affects the lining of the lung (the pleura), with nodules developing into a thick sheet which prevents the lung from expanding. Mesothelioma is a cancerous condition. The symptoms of both mesothelioma and asbestosis are quite similar, including a dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest pains. This is the reason why they are put together so often when discussing asbestos exposure.
Asbestosis is not a cancer, but in the same way as mesothelioma, it is extremely damaging to a person’s life. People with asbestosis will suffer a diminished lifestyle in most cases, but they can live for many years after diagnosis. As mesothelioma is extremely deadly and rare, there is a much lower survival rate.
The only way that you can successfully prevent mesothelioma and/or asbestosis is to completely avoid exposure to asbestos fibres. Exposure to asbestos in any form could be the cause of current symptoms that you or your loved one is facing, and it is important to understand your employment and education history to see where you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past.
Now that you understand the differences between asbestosis and mesothelioma you can understand the severity of both. Knowing that they can be caused by coming into contact with asbestos, or asbestos-containing materials should put you in a position to realise how important it is to manage asbestos if it is present in a building you are legally responsible for. Hiring licensed asbestos survey contractors to analyse a building and discover whether asbestos is present, but also to undertake any maintenance, repair, or asbestos removal tasks, to ensure the safety of those who use the building on a regular basis. Remember, it only takes one breath to inhale asbestos fibres and potentially become seriously ill, years, or even decades, down the line.