Between the late 19th century and into the 1970s, asbestos was a popular choice among manufacturers and builders for a range of purposes including electrical and building insulation. Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals and therefore was widely available to meet consumer needs. From the time corporations began to heavily mine asbestos, though, the heath conditions associated with it and its fibers began to appear.
Today, health officials and scientists know that inhalation of asbestos fibers, especially over the long term, can cause substantial impacts to victims and can trigger a number of diseases. Among the most common conditions to result from asbestos exposure are lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis. Most Americans are familiar with lung cancer and the type caused by asbestos can be similar to cancers caused by other means. But fewer people truly understand mesothelioma and asbestosis as they apply to asbestos exposure and therefore may be confused if they find themselves or their loved one facing such a diagnosis.
Mesothelioma is a type of lung cancer that begins in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers numerous internal organs. When asbestos exposure is the cause of mesothelioma, the cancer typically begins in the lining of the lungs, the lining of the abdominal cavity, the lining of the heart, or the lining of the testes. The first signs and symptoms of mesothelioma may be shortness of breath or a persistent cough. Others have pain and discomfort in their torsos or may experience sudden, unexplained weight loss. It can take decades for mesothelioma to develop and present symptoms after exposure to asbestos so many who are suffering from the condition do not initially suspect a link between exposure and the cancer.
Asbestosis is a chronic medical condition caused by exposure to asbestos and in many cases, exposure over a long period of time. It is characterized by inflammation of lung tissue and can make someone more likely to develop certain types of cancer, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Suffers experience shortness of breath and associated hypoxia and may possess other comorbidities.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for these conditions caused by asbestos exposure, leaving many who dealt with asbestos in the second half of the 20th century unsure about their futures. In most cases, mesothelioma leaves a typical patient with a life expectancy of only eight to 14 months after diagnosis and that means that these victims are in a race against time.
Those who have been exposed to asbestos and developed a medical condition as a result can never have the damage done to them erased but they are not without help. If the exposure happened in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois, local and federal laws provide these victims and their family members with the right to seek relief in the form of financial payment. This money can help pay for medical expenses, surgical costs, and nursing care if it is needed as well as provide for the pain and suffering that a victim must endure.
If you have questions about your options and you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, call the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us provide you with a free case consultation. We have a lawyer available to take your call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575.
Prior Blog Entry:
Avoiding Bicycle Dooring Accidents in Chicago, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 8, 2015.