Asbestos diseases: the destructive results of asbestos exposure

Asbestos diseases

Asbestos diseases don’t generally show themselves until several decades after the initial exposure, which is why we’ve seen a significant rise in the number of deaths from asbestos-related disease over the last 50 years.

If you’re worried that your health may have been compromised by historic asbestos exposure, or you currently work with the substance and feel you are at risk, what asbestos diseases can manifest as a result?

Malignant asbestos diseases

Malignant mesothelioma

Malignant mesothelioma can affect the pleura, the external lining of the lungs, and less commonly the peritoneum which is the membrane covering the abdominal organs. Symptoms don’t generally appear until the disease has reached a late stage, making it very difficult to treat.

Sufferers can experience a range of issues, including shortness of breath, fatigue, weight loss, coughing, fever, as well as chest and back pain. Tragically, the prognosis for mesothelioma victims is typically less than 12 months.

Asbestos-related lung cancer

Along with smoking, asbestos exposure is known to be one of the most common causes of lung cancer. It’s difficult to establish exact figures with regard to instances of asbestos-related lung cancer, as smoking and asbestos exposure in combination increase an individual’s risk.

Symptoms can include shortness of breath, a chronic cough, fatigue, respiratory infections, chest pain, and hoarseness of the throat. Prognosis is generally a few years, with potential treatment options including radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.

Non-malignant asbestos diseases

Asbestosis

Asbestosis is one of the most common asbestos diseases and one that, although not malignant, can increase the chances of lung cancer in the future. It causes irreversible scarring and inflammation of the lung tissue, compromising the ability to breathe normally.

Other symptoms often include a chronic cough, wheezing, fatigue, and chest or shoulder pain. Progressive shortness of breath is typically experienced over a period of time, with treatment options including oxygen therapy.

Diffuse pleural thickening

Diffuse pleural thickening is a non-cancerous asbestos disease that causes extensive scarring on the pleura, the outer lining of the lungs. This makes it more and more difficult for the lungs to expand, typically causing breathlessness and chest pain.

This asbestos disease can also result in pleural effusions, the accumulation of excess fluid in the pleural cavity which causes further compression of the lungs. As with many asbestos diseases, diffuse pleural thickening is associated with lengthy periods of exposure to asbestos in an occupational setting.

Pleural plaques

Pleural plaques aren’t as serious as pleural thickening, and sufferers don’t generally experience noticeable symptoms. They’re often discovered as a result of undergoing x-rays for other issues, but are a clear sign that exposure to asbestos has taken place in the past.

Asbestos diseases are pervasive in our society today due to the legacy of widespread industrial and commercial asbestos use. Acorn Analytical Services provide expert advice and guidance on all asbestos-related matters including asbestos sampling and testing, asbestos surveys, and asbestos removal. Please call one of our professional consultants to find out how we can help.

Neil Munro

I work in a dual role at Acorn Analytical Services focused primarily on growing and leading the business from our Northampton office base. My focus is on overseeing all sales, marketing and financial activities from Northampton. I assist clients with high-level asbestos management strategies and training. Together with Ian Stone I host our weekly podcast – Asbestos Knowledge Empire and I'm Co-author of Asbestos The Dark Arts and Fear and Loathing of Health and Safety.

Need Help? Request a Call Back

Request a call back from one of our expert Asbestos Consultants who will help you identify what you need

More Asbestos Articles

The new senior leadership team at asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services. From left to right, Steve McGlone, Andy Jackson and Simon Rodham.

Award-winning asbestos management consultancy starts 2024 with a new senior team

AWARD-WINNING asbestos management consultancy Acorn Analytical Services has announced a new senior leadership team to take the company into 2024 and beyond. After a record-breaking year which saw the company recognised for High Growth at the National SME Awards while taking on new clients and winning new business across the UK, Acorn Analytical Services, which … Read more

Ian Stone, director of asbestos management consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services

Let’s start 2024 in the right way – by getting rid of the dangers of asbestos for good

According to the latest data from the Health and Safety Executive 2,268 people died from asbestos-related mesothelioma in 2021 alone. It’s a shocking statistic, particularly when you consider that the use of asbestos in new buildings was banned in the UK in 1999 – more than 20 years ago. With Cancer Research UK confirming that … Read more

This Men's Health Month is time to talk about absestos

Men’s Health Month – it’s time to talk openly about asbestos

NOVEMBER marks Men’s Health Month – a time for shining the spotlight on the conditions and issues which affect men from all walks of life. While the focus quite rightly turns to serious health issues including Prostate Cancer, Testicular Cancer and mental health, at Acorn Analytical Services we want people to start talking about asbestos. … Read more

Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services will soon be moving into new offices

Have you heard the news? Asbestos consultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton is on the move

IF you haven’t heard the news already, we are delighted to announce that asbestos connsultancy Acorn Analytical Services Northampton will be starting a brand-new chapter very soon. In the coming days, our team will be moving to new – much larger – offices on Northampton’s Moulton Park, the place which has been our home for … Read more

asbestos in talcum powder

Unveiling the Hidden Danger: The Menace of Asbestos in Talcum Powder and the UK’s Stance

Explore the veiled danger of asbestos in talcum powder, the UK’s vigilant regulations, and the unfolding narrative of consumer safety. Dive into the rigorous testing methodologies, industry responses, and the promising horizon of international cooperation aiming to foster a safer landscape in the realm of personal care products.

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

Raac and ruin? How concrete crisis also raises the question of asbestos

A LOT has been said recently about Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) and asbestos. While fears about the safety of RAAC continue to dominate the headlines both nationally and locally, it is the additional threat from asbestos which we believe should be discussed now as a matter of urgency. Just as RAAC is crumbling in … Read more

Asbestos consultancy, Acorn Analytical Services, will be raising money for Mesothelioma UK

Asbestos consultancy gears up for 24-hour fundraising challenge

FOR many years the team at Acorn Analytical Services has been an avid supporter of Mesothelioma UK, the only charity in the UK dedicated to supporting people affected by this deadly disease. Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos fibres and shockingly still kills around 5,000 people each year in the UK – … Read more

RAAC and asbestos could be a problem in some buildings

The Ultimate Guide to Asbestos Surveyors: Why Your Safety Depends on It

Asbestos, once a ‘miracle material’, now poses severe health risks. Uncover the significance of asbestos surveys in the UK and why your safety depends on it.

Asbestos: Having the right consultancy in your corner has never been more important

‘Having the right consultancy to help you manage asbestos has never been more important’

A REPORT written by asbestos expert and director of Acorn Analytical Services, Ian Stone, has highlighted the worrying state of asbestos in the UK. The Annual Asbestos Industry Review provides a unique insight into the industry and a snapshot of the work being done by Acorn Analytical Services – one of the largest independent consultancies … Read more

Management of asbestos in schools

Management of Asbestos in Schools: A Comprehensive Analysis

In this blog post, we delve into the critical issue of asbestos management in UK schools, the recent HSE report, and the role of Acorn Analytical Services in ensuring safe learning environments.