Logo femininebook.com
General Practice 2023

Asbestos: what é, how it affects he alth and how to protect yourself

Table of contents:

Asbestos: what é, how it affects he alth and how to protect yourself
Asbestos: what é, how it affects he alth and how to protect yourself

Asbestos, also known as asbestos, is a group of minerals that is formed by microscopic fibers that were widely used in various construction materials, especially in roofing, flooring and home insulation.

However, in recent years it has been discovered that these fibers can easily be released into the air with the wear and tear of materials, causing them to be sucked up in the breath. When these fibers reach the lung, they cause small injuries that increase the risk of serious respiratory illness over time.

Thus, materials made from asbestos have been excluded from construction, being present only in old buildings that have not yet been refurbished.According to the law, these materials must be completely replaced, especially in public places such as schools and hospitals, for example.

Diseases caused by asbestos

Because it is a material composed of microscopic fibers, asbestos can be breathed into the lungs, where it accumulates and causes progressive inflammation of the lung tissues. When this happens, there is an increased risk of lung cell changes, which can be the cause of some lung diseases.

Some of the most common illnesses in people exposed to asbestos include:

1. Asbestosis

It is a disease caused only by the aspiration of asbestos into the lung and occurs due to the formation of scars in the lung tissue, which leads to a marked reduction in the elasticity of the lung, making it difficult to expand and breathe.

This is usually a common ailment in people who have worked with this type of material and can take several years to appear.

2. Lung cancer

Lung cancer can appear due to progressive changes in lung cells, as well as chronic lung inflammation.

Although it is more common to develop in people who also have other risk factors, such as smoking and not having a he althy diet, it can develop in apparently he althy people only due to prolonged exposure to asbestos.

Check out 10 symptoms that help to identify lung cancer.

3. Mesothelioma

This is a very aggressive type of cancer that develops in the mesothelium, a thin membrane that lines the lung and other vital organs in the abdominal and chest cavity. Chronic exposure to asbestos appears to be one of the only confirmed causes of this type of cancer.

Learn how to identify the symptoms of mesothelioma and see how the treatment is done.

Possible symptoms of exposure

The most common symptoms in people with prolonged exposure to asbestos, or asbestos, usually include:

  • Persistent dry cough;
  • Hoarseness;
  • Constant chest pain;
  • Difficulty breathing;
  • Feeling of constant tiredness.

These symptoms may vary depending on how asbestos fibers affect the lung and usually take up to 20 or 30 years to appear after exposure to the material.

For this reason, people who have worked with this type of material in the past should consult a pulmonologist and evaluate the he alth of their lungs, assessing the need to start some treatment, to avoid the emergence or worsening of any disease.

Who is most at risk of exposure

Exposure to asbestos occurs mainly through the inhalation of microfibers.Thus, the people most at risk of exposure are usually those who work, or have worked, with this type of material, as is the case with some carpenters, painters, electricians, bricklayers or plumbers.

However, it is also common that friends and family members of these workers may also experience complications from exposure to asbestos, as the fibers can be transported home in clothing, for example.

In addition, people living or working in places with materials made of asbestos also present a serious risk of exposure, especially if these materials are worn out. Some of the materials that most frequently contain asbestos in the composition include fiber cement tiles, pipes and thermal insulation.

How to protect yourself from asbestos exposure

The best way to protect yourself from exposure to asbestos is to avoid having contact with materials made of this type of material. Thus, the ideal is that all buildings with this type of material are remodeled for its replacement.

However, other protective measures include:

  • Use a protective mask in places with asbestos, especially in old and dilapidated buildings;
  • Remove clothes used in places with asbestos, before going out;
  • Perform regular maintenance of asbestos-containing materials that have not been replaced.

Furthermore, and since complications from asbestos exposure can take time to develop, people at high risk of exposure to asbestos should have regular medical examinations to assess lung he alth.

Popular topic