5 Health Complications Exposure to Asbestos May Cause

5 Health Complications Exposure to Asbestos May Cause

Older homes need major upgrades. From outdated decor to dysfunctional layouts, there are several projects to begin.

However, you must be careful about home improvement projects in homes built in the 1970s and earlier. Asbestos is commonly found in insulation and paint materials used from this time period. There are some unexpected places asbestos may be present in your house, too, like hair dryers!

It’s important to understand where the substance might reside, but you should also know the potential risks of breathing in the dangerous substance. Discover the health complications exposure to asbestos may cause and carefully inspect your home before a renovation.


The mesothelium is a layer of tissues called the epithelium. It’s a thin layer of tissue that covers the organs in the chest, including the lungs. After you inhale asbestos, the dangerous fibers can make their way to the epithelium and cause cell mutation.

People who develop mesothelioma commonly experience shortness of breath and chest pains due to fluid accumulation.

Lung Cancer

While lung cancer may seem like the same disease as mesothelioma, the two differ. Lung cancer occurs inside the lungs, and mesothelioma occurs within the tissue lining of the lungs.

Breathing in asbestos will cause the fibers to gradually mutate inside the lungs. However, frequent smoking can expedite the growth of the disease.


Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease resulting from extended exposure to breathing in asbestos. The tiny asbestos fibers can reach the alveoli, which are the small air sacs in the lungs.

It’s likely the disease won’t develop for a decade or longer after prolonged exposure. It takes time for the fibers to progress and corrupt the lung tissue. As the years pass, the scarring on the tissue only worsens. It can cause symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, and constant coughing.

Cancers in the Digestive System

Asbestos fibers aren’t only inhaled. People can ingest the substance as well. Cancers in the digestive system are health complications that prolonged asbestos exposure may cause. This includes stomach cancer, colon cancer, and pharyngeal cancer.

When you swallow asbestos, the fibers become lodged in the digestive tract. People who work near asbestos daily are at a high risk of developing these forms of cancer due to their excessive exposure.

The pharynx serves both the respiratory and digestive systems. Since you may breathe in or swallow the asbestos fibers, the pharynx is more susceptible. It can cause swelling or lumps in the neck.

People with pharyngeal cancer may also experience headaches, nosebleeds, tinnitus, and facial pain. Additionally, cancers in the stomach or colon may cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Ovarian Cancer

Because many of the other diseases and forms of cancer link directly to breathing in the substance, ovarian cancer may seem like a stretch. The people most susceptible to developing this type of cancer directly work with the substance for their profession. It can also place people at home at risk through secondary exposure.

After breathing in the substance, the asbestos fibers can reach the bloodstream. Then, it may travel to the ovaries and slowly cause inflammation and cellular damage to the ovaries.


Because of the dangers of asbestos, it’s important to confirm that there’s none in your home before renovation. Avoid this dangerous substance and protect yourself from these conditions.

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