Asbestos exposure increases the risk of developing lung diseases. When asbestos is damaged or disturbed the fibers become airborne and can then be taken into the lungs. The fibers then embed in the lung tissue and can cause major lung disease. Risk factors depend on concentration, duration, frequency and the makeup of the asbestos fibers. Amphibole asbestos fibers include tremolite, actinolite and crocidolite are retained longer in the lower respiratory tract than other fibers. Also, the more a person is exposed to asbestos the higher the chance of developing the health effects, however, symptoms may take several years to develop. Health effects of exposure to asbestos may continue to progress even if exposure has stopped. The time between exposure of asbestos and any adverse health manifestations can be as long as 30 or more years.
Continued exposure will increase the amount of asbestos that remains in the lungs. Fibers accumulate and cause scarring and inflammation in the lungs which in turn causes breathing problems. The most common and most major health effects associated with asbestos exposure are asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.
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