September 4 2020

Asbestos is responsible for thousands of deaths. In the UK alone, there are over 2,500 diagnosed cases every year. Used in industries such as construction and shipbuilding for decades, this cheap material was an important part of everything from insulation to roofing to fire-resistant materials. Its widespread use throughout the 20th century means that it still affects us today resulting in cases of mesothelioma and asbestosis. 

Many people don’t understand the difference between these two. We’re here to demystify them and show how important it is to test for and remove asbestos. 

What is Mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma is a cancer of the pleura in the lungs. It can also occur in the abdomen. Mesothelioma in the lungs is called pleural mesothelioma. When it occurs in the membranes of the abdomen, it is referred to as peritoneal mesothelioma. Both cancers can have detrimental and even deadly effects and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible. 

Mesothelioma can develop after only low levels of exposure. Asbestos fibres are inhaled and irritate the membrane of the lungs and abdomen. The symptoms only show up years, even decades after the exposure and diagnosis can take up to 2-3 months. This lag in exposure time and symptoms appearing can often make finding the source of exposure difficult. Industries where you often find these cases occurring include manufacturing, mechanics, chemical production, power generation, and construction. 

Symptoms of Pleural Mesothelioma include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • A sharp, painful cough
  • Weight loss
  • Lumps of tissue under the skin on the chest

Symptoms of Peritoneal Mesothelioma include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Lumps of tissue in the abdomen
  • Weight loss

What is Asbestosis?

Asbestos is made up of millions of minute fibres. When people work near or with asbestos they can inhale these fibres. The fibres find their way into the pleura lining of the lungs. Here they scar the lung tissue and cause chronic respiratory disease. 

Asbestosis occurs through long-term exposure to asbestos. Breathing in environs with loose asbestos fibres doesn’t result in symptoms immediately. Most sufferers only begin to experience the effects of this scarring decades after exposure has occurred. It occurs in places of work such as construction, insulation, piping, and heavy industries but has been known to exist in old houses and structures. 

Symptoms of Asbestosis include:

  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Reduced exercising ability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Clubbing of the fingers or toes
  • Cyanosis – Skin discolouration from poor circulation
  • Inspiratory crackling
  • Laboured breathing (even at rest)
  • Unexpected weight loss

Similarities and Differences

As you can see both Asbestosis and Mesothelioma are incredibly dangerous and can be life-threatening. While Asbestosis is scarring in the lungs, Mesothelioma is cancer that develops in the lungs or abdomen. Both usually only show symptoms years after exposure although Asbestosis occurs from long-term exposure while mesothelioma occurs from short-term exposure. 

If you would like to know more about these conditions or want to seek help, then please reach out to websites like the Mesothelioma Guide, Cancer Research UK, and the NHS. These websites along with your GP will advise you on the next steps. 

Who are Midlands Asbestos Solutions

We are fully committed to raising awareness, removing asbestos, and protecting the public at large. We provide safe and fully licensed asbestos services throughout the UK. Over several decades this has grown to include a wide selection of services including includes licensed asbestos removal, surveys, collection and disposal, as well as asbestos repair & reinstatement works.

Our highly trained professional team who are specialists in dealing with any type of asbestos and each member of our team is committed to making homes and businesses safer for the British public. Contact us now if you are interested in testing your premises or would like professional assistance in removing harmful asbestos fibres. 

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