Asbestosis and mesothelioma can both be caused due to ingesting or inhaling microscopic fibers made of asbestos. However, they aren’t the same illness and both require different treatment approaches. The main difference between these conditions is that asbestosis is not considered a cancerous illness, while mesothelioma is.
It is important to note that anyone who is diagnosed with either of these diseases reflects about in what way they could have been exposed to these harmful fibers. Lawsuits against past employers for asbestos exposure are not uncommon. Consider speaking with an attorney near you if you suspect an employer or other party could have protected your exposure, but failed to do so.
Here, we discuss further the differences and similarities between asbestosis and mesothelioma:
Why Asbestos and Mesothelioma Develop
Mesothelioma and asbestosis have the same cause, which is due to asbestos exposure. People who work in construction, industrial fields, electricians, miners, firefighters, shipyard workers, or power plant workers, are more vulnerable to asbestos exposure. Both these diseases have a latency period in which it may take upwards of forty years before symptoms of asbestosis and mesothelioma are observed and diagnosed.
Asbestosis develops as a result of scar tissue after asbestos fibers have built up in the alveoli. The alveoli is small sacs of air in the lungs where an exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen occurs. Asbestosis worsens as time goes on, where more scarring accumulates and the lungs become more rigid. Mesothelioma develops when asbestos fibers get stuck in the lung lining.
Symptoms of Both Diseases
When a doctor is examining a patient for mesothelioma or asbestosis, there are a group of symptoms that apply to both illnesses. Symptoms such as persistent coughing, weight loss, shortness of breath, and weight loss could be a sign of mesothelioma or asbestosis. However, patients with mesothelioma tend to experience more severe symptoms as the illness progresses.
A symptom that applies more to asbestos is when the fingers and nails have an abnormal, very rounded shape. Otherwise referred to as “finger clubbing,” this symptom occurs due to consistent low levels of oxygen in the blood. The nails slowly become softer, rounder, and wider. Patients with mesothelioma can develop clubbed fingers and toes as well, but it’s less common.
The process of diagnosing asbestosis and mesothelioma are both the same, in which the patient must have imaging tests done. Usually, the initial step entails a CT scan or x-ray, so the doctor can look at how the patient’s lungs are affected. On the imaging, excessive white areas in the lungs could be a sign of illness. Blood tests and a biopsy may also be conducted, particularly for those with possible mesothelioma, to identify the presence of cancerous cells.
The pain and suffering and medical bills associated with a mesothelioma or asbestosis diagnosis can be profoundly expensive. As stated above, if you or someone you loved was diagnosed with mesothelioma or asbestosis, then it’s in your best interest to speak with a lawyer, like a personal injury lawyer from Wieand Law Firm, to see if compensation can be sought from the party responsible for the exposure.