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What’s The Difference Between Mesothelioma and Asbestosis?

Mesothelioma and Asbestosis are two different diseases arising from exposure to asbestos.  New Orleans workers who were exposed to this carcinogenic material often contract these diseases.

Mesothelioma is the disease most commonly associated with asbestos exposure.  While it is actually less common than asbestosis, its high fatality rate makes it one of the most devastating diseases caused by any industrial toxin.  Briefly, mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium – the lining that surrounds the organs in the chest and abdomen.  It is caused by inhaled asbestos fibers that have worked their way through the lung into this outer lining.  It has a very long latency period, and may not appear in diagnosable form until decades after exposure. 

For more details on different types of mesothelioma and its symptoms, click here.

Asbestosis is also caused by inhaled asbestos fibers.  In the case of asbestosis, these fibers become embedded in the inner lung tissue, leading to scarring. That scarring eventually leads to fibrosis.  Those parts of the lungs where fibrosis occurs become hardened and are less capable of absorbing oxygen.  The symptoms of asbestosis include shortness of breath, coughing and chest pain.  Like mesothelioma, asbestosis can take decades to appear after exposure.

Asbestosis can lead to other cardio-vascular problems, particularly among smokers.  It also can lead to thickening of the pleura – the membrane surrounding the lungs – causing pleural effusion and the development of pleural plaques.  This pleural thickening also can be a precursor to the development of mesothelioma.

If you have been exposed to asbestos and have any questions regarding your legal rights, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at (504) 581-6411 or 855-GERTLER.  We would be happy to help you.