Asbestos Related Diseases

Asbestos related diseases Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that was widely used in Australia in the 20th Century for many industrial and domestic applications. Inhalation of asbestos fibres has been shown to lead to a number of serious health risks, including asbestosis and the cancer mesothelioma. As these can take a number of decades to develop, it is likely that the effects on the Australian community of exposure to asbestos will continue to increase into the 21st Century. What is asbestos? Asbestos is a group of naturally-occurring silicate minerals that are made up of fine, fibrous crystals. Three of these are crocidolite (blue asbestos), amosite (brown or grey asbestos) and chrysotile (white asbestos). Asbestos fibres have many useful qualities: they are strong and flexible, resistant to fire and chemical attack, and have good insulating properties. They can even be spun and woven into cloth. Asbestos is also relatively cheap to mine and process. Historically, asbestos was seen as a desirable raw material in a range of products such as insulation, construction materials, concrete, an additive in paints and sealants, vehicle brake pads and clutches, and even outdoor furniture. Unfortunately, asbestos is also a highly toxic, insidious and environmentally persistent material that has killed thousands of Australians, and will kill thousands more this century. [1] [2] [3] [4] Why is asbestos a health risk? Asbestos becomes a hazard when microscopic fibre fragments become airborne and are inhaled. Due to their size and shape they can remain airborne for some time, and enter even the smallest air passages in the lungs where they embed in lung tissue. The fibres are highly resistant to removal by the lungs’ natural cleaning processes. [5] Asbestos related diseases Embedded asbestos fibres irritate the lung tissue around them, causing a number of diseases: Pleural disease Inflammation and irritation of the outer lining of the lung, the pleura. The pleura stiffens and thickens widely (diffuse thickening) or in patches (plaques), and can fill with fluid. This thickening can restrict breathing. Asbestosis This is scarring of the lungs: the airways become so inflamed and scarred that oxygen is no longer able to pass from the lungs into the blood. The lungs become stiff and inelastic, making breathing progressively difficult. Symptoms include tightness in the chest, dry cough, and in the later stages, a bluish tinge to the skin caused by lack of oxygen. Asbestosis is usually seen in former asbestos miners, asbestos manufacturing workers...
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Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the airways, the small tubes which carry air in and out of the lungs. When you have asthma symptoms the muscles in the airways tighten and the lining of the airways swells and produces sticky mucus. These changes cause the airways to become narrow, so that there is less space for the air to flow into and out of your lungs. For more information please click the following links http://www.nationalasthma.org.au...
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an umbrella term for a number of lung diseases that prevent proper breathing. Three of the most common conditions are emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma that isn’t fully reversible. These conditions can occur separately or together. The main symptoms are breathlessness, chronic cough and sputum production. Cigarette smokers and ex-smokers are most at risk. COPD used to be more common in men, but the disease is quite evenly spread across the sexes now that women and men smoke in equal numbers. There is no cure for COPD, and the damaged airways don’t regenerate. However, there are things you can do to slow progress of the disease, improve your symptoms, stay out of hospital and live longer For more information please click the following links. http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au/copd.aspx...
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Lung Cancer

What is lung cancer? Lung cancer occurs when abnormal cells in one or both lungs grow in an uncontrolled way. The lungs are part of the body’s respiratory system. They are made up of a series of airways called bronchi and bronchioles that end in tiny air sacs called alveoli.   What are the different types of lung tumour? There are several types of lung cancer, each beginning in a different type of cell in the lung. Small cell carcinoma (around 12% of lung cancer) usually arises from epithelial cells that line the surface of the centrally located bronchi. Non-small cell carcinoma (over 60% of lung cancer) consists of a different group of cancers that tend to grow and spread more slowly than small cell carcinoma. It mainly affects cells lining the bronchi and smaller airways. Other types account for around 25% of lung cancer.1   What are the symptoms of lung cancer? The symptoms of lung cancer can often be vague and mimic those of other conditions. Unexplained, persistent symptoms lasting more than three weeks can include:2 a new or changed cough coughing up blood – this is called haemoptysis a chest infection that won’t go away chest pain and/or shoulder pain shortness of breath hoarse voice weight loss or loss of appetite These symptoms may be due to other conditions however, if any of these symptoms are experienced, it is important that they are discussed with a GP or healthcare worker without delay.   What are the risk factors for lung cancer? A risk factor is any factor that is associated with an increased chance of developing a particular health condition, such as lung cancer. There are different types of risk factors, some of which can be modified and some which cannot. It should be noted that having one or more risk factors does not mean a person will develop lung cancer. Many people have at least one risk factor but will never develop lung cancer, while others with lung cancer may have had no known risk factors. Even if a person with lung cancer has a risk factor, it is usually hard to know how much that risk factor contributed to the development of their disease. While the causes of lung cancer are not fully understood, there are a number of factors associated with the risk of developing the disease. These factors include:1 tobacco smoking environmental...
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