Asbestosis is a lung disease caused by exposure to asbestos. When the lungs are damaged by asbestos fibers, scar tissue develops and prevents airflow to the lungs. Asbestosis can have serious symptoms which may be fatal over time.
If you or a loved one developed asbestosis, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Contact Sokolove Law today to learn more through a free case review.
What Is Asbestosis?
Asbestosis is a lung disease caused by long-term damage from asbestos fibers. If asbestos products are disturbed, they release fibers into the air. These fibers are microscopic and can be easily inhaled or ingested.
The human body is unable to process asbestos fibers, so they remain within the lungs and damage healthy tissue. This results in scarring and causes the lungs to stiffen over time.
Patients with asbestosis frequently have problems breathing because of the damage to their lungs. In severe cases, these problems can be life-threatening.
Both asbestosis and mesothelioma share the same risk factors, causes, and symptoms. However, asbestos fibers settle in different parts of the body in each case. Doctors still do not know how the fibers wind up in different body parts.
For over 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped asbestos exposure victims and their loved ones get justice. If you've been diagnosed with asbestosis, reach out to our team today to learn more about your options.
Diagnosed with Asbestosis?
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Asbestosis Causes: Exposure to Asbestos
Asbestos exposure has been linked to various types of cancers and diseases, including asbestosis. In fact, it's one of the most common asbestos-related diseases.
Asbestosis causes a person’s lungs to become calloused and restricted by scar tissue. This scar tissue forms from irritation by inhaled or ingested asbestos fibers.
Asbestos is a natural mineral that's cheap, durable, and fire-resistant. These factors made it a popular choice for many industrial products throughout the 20th century. It was used to make thousands of products and building materials.
However, it was discovered that many asbestos-related companies knew their products were incredibly dangerous to human health, but they chose to hide the truth.
At the time, the asbestos industry was very profitable. Asbestos-related companies feared exposing the dangers of their products. Their decision put the lives of thousands in jeopardy.
Asbestos exposure may have taken place through:
- High-risk jobs, like construction, mining, and carpentry
- Service in the military, especially on U.S. Navy ships
- Secondhand or “take-home” exposure
Now, some of those who were exposed to asbestos decades ago are developing fatal diseases, including cancer.
Asbestosis vs. Mesothelioma
There are two key differences between asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma. The biggest is that asbestosis is not a form of cancer. Rather, it is a chronic disorder of the lung that causes progressive damage and scarring.
These diseases develop in two different parts of the body:
- Asbestosis affects the lung directly and is caused by asbestos fibers getting trapped in the alveoli (tiny sacs within the lungs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide within your blood)
- Mesothelioma is caused by asbestos fibers getting stuck in the pleura (lining of the lungs)
Symptoms of asbestosis are often similar to those of mesothelioma, making it difficult to determine the difference between the two diseases without advanced imaging tests.
Both lung conditions have long latency periods, with symptoms developing 20-50 years after breathing in or swallowing asbestos dust.
Shared symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma include:
- Appetite and weight loss
- Chest pains
- Persistent, dry cough
- Shortness of breath
Long-Term Issues Caused by Asbestosis
A person with asbestosis will often experience breathing issues and decreased lung function. Over time, serious health problems from asbestosis can develop as the disease worsens.
Long-term complications include:
- Clubbing (fingertips and toes that appear wider and rounder than normal)
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart failure
- High blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary hypertension)
- Lung cancer
If you are experiencing symptoms of asbestosis or mesothelioma, and you may have been exposed to asbestos in the past, reach out to a healthcare professional today.
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Receiving an Asbestosis Diagnosis
Doctors typically order imaging tests to determine the cause of serious symptoms. These tests allow them to see if there are any suspicious masses (like tumors) or scarring in or near the lung. In the process, doctors can narrow down what illness you may have.
These tests can include:
- Chest X-rays
- CT scans
- Tests of lung functioning
The only way to formally diagnose an asbestos-related disease is through a biopsy or a sample of tissue that doctors examine for a disease.
If a person has pleural mesothelioma, which affects the lung lining, doctors will take a biopsy from the pleura. To diagnose asbestosis, doctors need a sample directly from the lung itself.
Once the sample is collected, doctors will look for abnormalities under a microscope. Doctors can order additional tests to determine the disease's severity or cancer's extent.
Patients who work or live around asbestos — or who did in the past — should be sure to talk to their doctors about their history of exposure if they are presenting with any symptoms of asbestosis or mesothelioma.
Asbestosis Treatment Options
Unfortunately, asbestosis has no cure. However, there are steps that can be taken to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of this disease.
Some recommendations to help treat and manage asbestosis include:
- Avoid lung irritants: Smoking or being around smoke, pollution, and high pollen levels can all cause the symptoms of asbestosis to worsen.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep will help to keep your body healthy as it fights against this disease.
- Receive a lung transplant: In cases of severe lung scarring, some patients may require a lung transplant.
- Receive oxygen: Using an oxygen tank can make it easier to get oxygen to your lungs.
- Undergo pulmonary rehabilitation: PR classes will teach you more about your disease and help you to and strengthen your lungs through various exercises.
Medical bills for asbestosis can pile up quickly, adding additional stress to an already difficult situation. Thankfully, patients with asbestosis and their families may be eligible for financial compensation.
Get Help Paying for Treatment
Our asbestosis lawyers can fight on your behalf for the compensation you need. Take the first steps toward justice now.
Though asbestosis presents long-term symptoms that worsen over time, it is not as deadly as other asbestos-related diseases. In fact, most people with asbestosis can survive for many years after their diagnosis.
However, having asbestosis does increase your risk of developing other asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer and mesothelioma. This is often why asbestosis is described as a potentially fatal disease.
Working with a doctor that specializes in asbestos-related diseases can potentially improve your asbestosis prognosis and extend your life expectancy.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed asbestosis or another asbestos-related disease, call (800) 647-3434 or fill out our contact form to learn more about pursuing financial compensation for your illness.
Pursuing Asbestosis Lawsuit Settlements
Like mesothelioma, asbestosis is caused solely by exposure to dangerous asbestos fibers. During the 20th century, asbestos was widely used across dozens of industries, putting certain workers at an increased risk of developing asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis.
Many companies that made and sold asbestos-containing products knew of the harm they could cause to workers’ health. However, they chose to hide the truth to keep making profits.
Their negligence put thousands of workers and military veterans at risk of falling ill later in life.
Veterans make up 30% of all mesothelioma cases.
Asbestosis Compensation Options
If you believe you were exposed to asbestos on the job or while serving in the military and developed asbestosis as a result, you may be able to access compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and provide for your family.
Patients and their families may receive financial compensation for asbestosis from:
- Asbestos trust funds: Bankrupt asbestos-related companies established special court-ordered trust funds to compensate current and future asbestos exposure victims and their family members.
- Asbestos lawsuits: Victims can sue asbestos-related companies that are still in business by filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim. The majority of lawsuits end in an asbestos settlement, and many clients start getting paid in as few as 90 days.
- VA Benefits: Many veterans were exposed to asbestos during their time in the military. Veterans with asbestos-related diseases like asbestosis may be eligible to receive compensation through a VA claim.
At Sokolove Law, our experienced asbestos lawyers work to maximize your potential compensation from an asbestosis lawsuit.
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Sokolove Law: Experienced Asbestosis Lawyers
As a national law firm, Sokolove Law has over 40 years of experience helping injured clients and their families hold negligent corporations accountable.
If you or a loved one was diagnosed with asbestosis, you may be able to file an asbestos claim and receive financial compensation.
We can provide you with a free case review to determine your eligibility. Additionally, there are no upfront or out-of-pocket costs to work with our lawyers — we only get paid if we secure compensation for you.
Call (800) 647-3434 or fill out our contact form today to see how we can help you. Our dedicated team is standing by 24/7 to discuss your situation.
What Is Asbestosis FAQs
Who qualifies for asbestosis lawsuit settlements?
You may qualify for an asbestosis settlement if you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos and developed asbestosis as a result.
Contact us for a free case review to learn more about your eligibility to file a lawsuit.
What is the difference between mesothelioma and asbestosis?
There are two main differences between asbestosis and mesothelioma:
- First, mesothelioma is a type of cancer, while asbestosis is a chronic lung disease
- Second, mesothelioma is caused by asbestos fibers becoming trapped in the lining of the lungs, while asbestosis is caused by asbestos fibers trapped in the alveoli (tiny sacs within the lungs that exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide within your blood)
While different, asbestosis and mesothelioma do have similar symptoms and causes.
What is the life expectancy of someone with asbestosis?
An asbestosis patient’s life expectancy varies based on their individual health and how fast the disease progresses. Many people with asbestosis are able to live for years and even decades after their diagnosis.
The prognosis for patients with asbestosis is better than for those with mesothelioma or lung cancer, but unfortunately, some asbestosis patients will go on to develop cancer in their lungs that will shorten their life expectancy.
How much does an asbestosis attorney cost?
Our asbestosis lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means there are no upfront costs or hourly fees.
We only get paid if we successfully secure compensation for you through an asbestos trust fund claim or lawsuit.
How much do you get for asbestosis?
It depends. The value of your case is determined by the severity of your illness, and the impact that it has had on your life.
Additionally, whether or not your case reaches an asbestosis settlement or goes to trial will likely influence the amount of compensation you may receive.
In cases of mesothelioma, the average settlement is between $1 Million to $1.4 Million and the average trial verdict is upwards of $5 Million.