How Long Does It Take for Asbestos to Impact Your Lungs?

Asbestos is a chronic and progressive lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos fibers over a long period of time. It can take anywhere from five to twenty years before symptoms start to appear. Inhaled asbestos fibers accumulate in the lungs and cause scarring (fibrosis). Asbestos-related diseases usually take at least twenty years to develop after exposure.When a disease does develop, symptoms usually appear gradually and may initially resemble those of the common cold.

It may take twenty to thirty years before any symptoms become noticeable. Most people who develop asbestos-related illnesses were exposed to the material on a regular basis, and it takes a long time for the disease to manifest.According to the National Cancer Institute, most people don't have symptoms until ten to forty years after exposure. If your doctor knows you've been exposed to asbestos, they may check you for symptoms. If you have a history of exposure and are experiencing increasing shortness of breath, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of asbestosis.The courts have required each bankrupt asbestos company to create a trust fund in order to continue compensating victims.

Not everyone exposed to asbestos will develop an asbestos-related illness, but if you start showing any of the above symptoms, be sure to talk to your family doctor and explain exactly what symptoms you have, letting them know that you have been exposed to asbestos in the past.In some cases, the time between exposure and diagnosis may be much shorter. After the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York in 2001, clouds of dust and debris containing asbestos fibers were released into the air. Family members also experienced regular exposure of workers carrying asbestos dust on their clothes. If you were exposed to asbestos for a day, the risk to your health depends on how much dust you have inhaled.People may worry that they will get sick just from being around a product that contains asbestos, as if it were radioactive.

However, doctors often find asbestos fibers in a person's tissue during a biopsy, which they will test to understand how long it takes for asbestos to cause lung cancer.Asbestosis and pleural mesothelioma have the same cause but different latency periods, so it is common for a patient to develop asbestosis many years before developing mesothelioma. When materials containing asbestos are damaged, there is a danger that asbestos fibers will be released into the air and inhaled.Regardless of the time between exposure to asbestos and being diagnosed with an asbestos-related cancer, you may have evidence to support a case. Most cases of asbestos cancer and asbestosis can be traced back to occupational exposure levels.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

Extreme travel geek. Hardcore food expert. Hardcore web nerd. Lifelong zombie lover. Incurable zombie specialist. Wannabe travelaholic.