How Long Does It Take for Asbestos to Get Into Your Lungs?

It usually takes 10 to 20 years for lung cancer to develop after exposure to asbestos. It may take 20 to 30 years before symptoms appear. When asbestos fibers and dust enter the lungs, they can cause fibrosis, which is thickening and scarring of the lungs. Asbestos can also cause the membranes surrounding the lungs (the pleura) to thicken.

This scarring and thickening of the lung tissue can make it difficult to breathe. Most people who develop asbestos-related illnesses were exposed to the material on a regular basis, and these diseases usually take a long time to develop. Most people don't have symptoms until 10 to 40 years after exposure, according to the National Cancer Institute. If your doctor knows you've been exposed to asbestos, he or she may check you for symptoms.

Asbestos-related disease takes a long time to develop, and most people have no signs or symptoms for at least the first 10 years after exposure. You may experience a cough or cold during the period when the asbestos fibers are inhaled.Always have trained and accredited professionals inspect, repair, or recall asbestos products. As a result, some people developed asbestosis after repeatedly inhaling asbestos particles while working in these industries. As with all asbestos-related diseases, occupational exposure to asbestos is the leading cause of asbestosis.

If you have a history of exposure to asbestos and are experiencing increasing shortness of breath, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of asbestosis.Sheski is a pulmonary intensive care specialist with experience in treating asbestos-related lung conditions, such as pleural mesothelioma and asbestosis. Asbestos is a fiber-like material that was once used in buildings for insulation, floors and roofs. When a person is exposed to asbestos for a long period of time, the lungs heal and become inflamed. The diagnosis of asbestosis is an important risk factor for more serious asbestos-related diseases, such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.If asbestos fibers are inhaled, decades later, a person may develop lung cancer (lung tumor) or mesothelioma (tumor of the membrane that surrounds the lung).

If you've been exposed to asbestos but haven't been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness, a lawyer may not be able to help you. For those living with someone who is at risk of occupational exposure to asbestos, it is important to ask about decontamination procedures. In the United States, federal law requires employers in industries that work with asbestos products, such as construction, to take special safety measures.The immune system recognizes asbestos fibers as foreign invaders and sends macrophages, which are a type of white blood cell, to surround the fiber to break it down and remove it from the body. These conditions are caused by years of occupational exposure to asbestos and can damage a type of lung tissue called parenchymal tissue.

Smoking appears to increase the retention of asbestos fibers in the lungs and often results in a more rapid progression of the disease. Second-hand exposure is possible for exposed workers' household members, as asbestos fibers can be taken home in clothing.

Marissa Trafford
Marissa Trafford

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