Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a serious respiratory condition that makes it hard to breathe. People with COPD may have symptoms ranging from shortness of breath and coughing to mucus production. Those diagnosed with COPD may have emphysema and chronic bronchitis caused by serious damage to the lungs.
Although many people associate COPD with tobacco consumption, you do not have to be a smoker or have lived with a smoker to develop COPD. It is also possible that environmental exposure to asbestos at your place of employment could have contributed to the development of COPD.
Many Americans have worked with asbestos
When people think about the health implications of asbestos, they most often think of lung cancer or mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer that affects organ linings. Fewer people consider the non-cancerous consequences of asbestos exposure inhaling particles of asbestos unsafe levels can cause damage to your lungs.
Some individuals will develop permanent and chronic respiratory issues as a result of workplace exposure to asbestos earlier in life, including asbestosis and COPD. These conditions often require increasingly expensive medical care as they progress, and neither has a definitive cure.
How does asbestos cause COPD?
When you inhale small amounts of asbestos, the particles of this carcinogenic mineral cause inflammation, irritation and scarring inside your lungs. Eventually, that damage could culminate in COPD symptoms. It could be years after asbestos exposure when you finally start noticing respiratory symptoms.
After your diagnosis, you may need to look in to your rights under the law. People in certain careers are at much higher risks for asbestos-related medical issues than others. You may be able to seek compensation from your former employer or even a bankruptcy trust to help cover your medical costs and other losses suffered because of your diagnosis. An experienced attorney can provide you with guidance.