How Does Asbestos Affect the Body?

Asbestos is a dangerous mineral that can lead to truly devastating consequences. When a material containing asbestos becomes damaged, it creates a hazard for anyone who comes into contact with it. Exposure to asbestos is most common in workplaces which involve property work such as construction and renovation. At first, there are no signs that anything is wrong. Instead, asbestos acts as a silent and invisible killer, slowly attacking a person’s internal organs over several years without them being aware. Asbestos-related illnesses can come in many forms, the majority of which affect the lungs.

In today’s article, we will look at the different ways in which asbestos can affect the body and the long-term effects that it can have on a person’s life.


Cancer is undoubtedly one of the world’s cruellest illnesses. For the patient, it means pain, emotional stress and years of torment in trying to find a treatment that works. For family and friends, it means feeling helpless watching a loved one struggle right in front of them, and having to endure the bereavement heartbreak should they lose their battle. Unfortunately, there is no cure for cancer, but there are several treatments that can help aid remission. Sadly, cancer is also one of the most common diseases that can be caused by exposure to asbestos.

Cancer is where cells in the human body grow out of control and overcrowd normal cells, making it difficult for the body to function as normal. Cancer can occur anywhere in the body and in the case of asbestos, it is most likely to appear in the lining of the lungs or abdomen. For instance, mesothelioma is one of the most common types of asbestos-related cancers, and it is both rare and incurable. Asbestos-related cancer can also appear in the ovaries and larynx.

In the case of mesothelioma, when a person breathes in the asbestos minerals, the fibres can become lodged in the lining of the lungs, abdomen and heart. These can then damage the mesothelial cells and cause inflammation over time, allowing tumours to form. Due to how it affects the body, it can lead to physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughs, fevers, chest or abdomen pain, fatigue, and nausea. While mesothelioma cannot be cured, if a diagnosis is spotted early, treatments can help control the symptoms.

Lung Inflammation and Scarring

Another way in which asbestos affects the body is through lung inflammation and scarring. This is typical of asbestosis, a lung condition caused by long-term exposure. This is where the lungs can become inflamed and scarred due to the asbestos fibers, preventing them from expanding and relaxing as normal. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, coughs, wheezing, and chest tightness.

Pleural Effusion and Thickening

The pleural is a fluid-filled space surrounding the lungs which can be significantly affected by breathing in asbestos. Two of the key conditions that we will cover in this section are pleural effusion and pleural thickening. Pleural effusion is where excessive fluid can build up between the lungs and chest cavity. This can cause difficulty breathing as well as a dry cough, chest pain and persistent hiccups. Pleural thickening, on the other hand, is extensive scarring that thickens the pleural lining, causing chest pain and breathing issues. If pleural thickening reaches an advanced stage, it can be extremely serious and cause restrictive lung disease, making it extremely hard for someone to breathe.

Have you been affected by a tragic loss due to an asbestos-related condition? We know the pain and suffering that this can cause, both mentally and financially. As solicitors that specialise in mesothelioma compensation after death claims, we are committed to working tirelessly to ensure that victims and families get the compensation they deserve.

If you would like to know more, please call us on 0151 724 7121 or contact us online and a friendly member of our team will get in touch for a no-obligation chat.

Posted: November 30, 2020 at 6:38 pm