Mesothelioma is a rare and aggressive form of heart-lung cancer. Since it exclusively comes from asbestos exposure, it’s very hard to diagnose. And, since it forms in the fragile heart/lung lining and spreads quickly, it’s difficult to treat. Fortunately, cancer survival rates have increased significantly since the 1990s. So, mesothelioma is no longer the death sentence it used to be, at least in most cases.
However, mesothelioma is only the worst asbestos-related illness. There are many others. These non-mesothelioma illnesses significantly affect your quality of life. Additionally, if you have a pre-existing condition, these illnesses could be fatal.
In either fatal or non-fatal situations, a Brainerd injury lawyer may be able to obtain substantial compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, and noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering. In all these cases, both types of losses are almost staggering.
Pleural plaques are much more common than mesothelioma. In fact, PP is the most common asbestos-related illness in the United States.
Benign pleural plaques always remain that way. They never become malignant over time. Additionally, a few people never experience any symptoms. But these are the lucky few.
Typically, when the lung lining gets thick, people experience a grating sensation when they breathe. That thickening also makes breathing difficult during or after a strenuous activity like basketball or swimming. Additionally, pleural plaques often extend to the diaphragm, which is the body’s primary respiration organ. The plaque often calcifies around the diaphragm, where it may impede normal everyday breathing activity.
Diffuse Pleural Thickening
This condition, which is also known as DPT, is similar to PP, but it is worse. As the disease progresses and the lung scar tissue builds up, most patients complain of moderate to severe breathlessness. Moreover, DPT often shuts the opening in the pleural lung lining. As a result, patients are unable to take deep breaths.
DPT occurs in up to 15 percent of asbestos exposure victims. So, it’s not quite as common as PP, but it’s much more common than mesothelioma.
DPT is permanent and irreversible. However, it is not necessarily degenerative. Advanced physical therapy techniques, such as pulmonary rehabilitation, may help patients breathe easier. Additionally, if a DPT patient smokes even moderately, it’s very important to quit.
PE is a bit different from the preceding two conditions. PP and DPT both involve scar tissue buildup. Pleural effusion is fluid buildup in the lung cavity. That fluid makes regular breathing difficult. Perhaps more importantly, PE often precedes mesothelioma. So, the patient’s health could get a lot worse very quickly, unless the doctor is very diligent and aggressive.
There is supposed to be some fluid in the chest cavity. The liquid lubricates the lungs and helps people breath easily. But when fluid builds up, it has the opposite effect. It compresses the lung and restricts its movements.
PE is a transitory condition. It is not chronic; it usually comes and goes. Victims may have a bout of PE, be symptom-free for several months, and then experience difficulty breathing again. Usually, PE is also a progressive condition. Each spell is a little worse than the last one. Treatment is usually available, but it often involves very aggressive and uncomfortable measures, like catheters and shunts.
The aforementioned conditions, including pleural effusion, are often not terribly serious, unless the victim has a pre-existing condition. But that’s not the case with pleuritis. A Buffalo injury lawyer may be able to obtain substantial compensation for this illness, because the victim will most likely suffer. This condition, which is also called, pleurisy, is a severe inflammation of the lung lining.
Pain often radiates from the chest to the back. Excessive coughing is common as well. Moreover, pleuritis often becomes infected.
Asbestos-related pleuritis has no cure and no effective treatment. Doctors can usually make sure the disease does not get significantly worse, but the victim will probably never get “better.” A Buffalo injury lawyer can make sure you obtain both compensation and justice in these situations.
This common condition is a substance-induced collapsed lung. Many times, the substance is anesthesia. Once the anesthetic exits the system, atelectasis often goes away, at least for the most part. But environmental toxins like asbestos never leave the system.
Because it closes the alveoli (air sacs inside the lungs), atelectasis decreases the oxygen supply in the blood. That decrease has cascading effects throughout the body. If organs do not get enough oxygen, the brain shuts them down, or at least reduces their functionality.
Much like mesothelioma, atelectasis is hard to diagnose and treat. Shortness of breath is the only symptom, and that’s also a symptom of the other more common asbestos-related conditions outlined above. Furthermore, if hypoxia (lack of oxygen) has already begun, it is difficult to reverse.
Contact an Assertive Attorney
To deal with aggressive asbestos-related illnesses, you need financial and emotional resources. That means you need an experienced Brainerd injury lawyer from Carlson & Jones, P.A. Contact us today for a free consultation, because you have a limited amount of time to act.