How does asbestos get into the lungs?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2022 | Asbestos, Mesothelioma |

By now, many Americans understand just how catastrophic asbestos can be to a person’s health. This was not always the case, though. Indeed, because of its insulation and fire-retardant potential, asbestos used to be present in a variety of everyday items.

If you work with or near asbestos, you may know how easily it can fall apart. Unfortunately, if they get inside your lungs, asbestos fibers can cause you to develop an array of life-altering illnesses, ranging from asbestosis to cancer. How does asbestos get into the lungs, though?

Inhalable fibers

According to the Mayo Clinic, asbestos fibers can be small enough for an individual to inhale. Indeed, fine asbestos dust might have millions of inhalable fibers. When you inhale these fibers, they can embed themselves into tiny air passages inside your lungs. Unfortunately, no amount of forceful exhalation is likely to be enough to dislodge embedded fibers.

Your overall health

Asbestos, mesothelioma and other asbestos-associated illnesses often do not show up until years or even decades after asbestos exposure. Consequently, if you have worked with or around asbestos during your career, you should keep your work history in the back of your mind. If you have breathing difficulties, hoarseness or other symptoms, you should not put off seeking a diagnosis and treatment.

When it comes to recovering from asbestos-related illnesses, early diagnosis is often critical. Ultimately, though, to be your doctor orders the correct tests, you should not forget to tell him or her about your history with asbestos.