Revealing Asbestos Health Issues: Doctor’s Appointment and Diagnosis


Asbestos was an essential material mandated in building the Navy fleet and widely used in the military from the 1930s through the 1980s. The U.S. Navy used many asbestos-containing products for their insulating and fire-retardant properties.

The poorly ventilated enclosed areas on ships increased the risk of Navy members inhaling dangerous levels of asbestos fibers every time the material was disturbed during removal, repair, renovation, or maintenance.

When asbestos fibers are inhaled over an extended period, they can cause long-term lung inflammation and create asbestos-related health problems 20 to 50 years from the initial exposure. The long latency period means that by the time the doctors can adequately diagnose the disease, it often reaches an advanced stage that makes it difficult to treat.

The process of developing an asbestos-related lung disease such as asbestosis has its telltale signs, and everyone who served in the Navy before the early 1980s should pay close attention to any of these symptoms:

During that time, ships were constructed with asbestos-containing products, so avoiding exposure to asbestos fibers was impossible. Paying close attention to the symptoms provides an excellent chance for timely prevention, accurate diagnosis, and adequate treatment of asbestos-related health conditions.

Ignoring the Symptoms or Not Considering Them Serious Wastes Precious Time

Often veterans don't consider the occurring symptoms important, thinking of them as age-related and natural. Smoking is another factor often regarded as a cause of persistent cough or difficulty breathing. When dealing with asbestos-related lung diseases, time is of the essence. The symptoms won't go away by themselves, and as time goes by, they tend to get worse due to the aggravating inflammatory processes in the lungs.

Service in the Navy teaches those serving the importance of immediate action, as it could mean the difference between life and death. Navy veterans should apply this skill when it comes to taking care of their health. If any symptoms are present, the immediate step is to make an appointment with the doctor to get checked and diagnosed.

Tell Your Doctor About Any Possibly Encountered Risks of Asbestos Exposure to Get an Accurate Diagnosis

Veterans who served on Navy ships built till the mid-1970' should be vocal about the conditions they encountered during service, which most likely led to asbestos exposure. Any detail could be significant in establishing an asbestos-related lung disease. An early and accurate diagnosis significantly impacts the prognosis of asbestos-related conditions and thus cannot be underestimated.

Veterans should request a specialist's evaluation of their medical examinations and insist on a written doctor's opinion. The primary care provider may direct them to several specialists, including a pulmonologist and a radiologist. The doctors can make an asbestos-related lung diagnosis based on the following:

  • medical history, including asbestos exposure work history
  • physical examination
  • blood tests
  • chest X-rays
  • computed tomography scans
  • pleural fluid analysis
  • tissue sampling (biopsy)

Asking questions and requesting answers could lead to a better evaluation, a correct diagnosis, and better handling of the encountered health issues. With the inhaled asbestos fibers lodged in the lung tissues, continuous scarring occurs, and the lungs become stiffer, making breathing difficult. This is why undergoing the appropriate treatment is essential and can lengthen the overall life expectancy.

Veterans Exposed to Asbestos During Their Service and Suffering From Illnesses Resulting From It Can File Claims with the VA

Depending on the veteran's medical condition, the VA offers many programs and services for veterans who develop asbestos-related diseases. Compensations like disability, special monthly, dependency, and indemnity payments are some tax-free benefits available to veterans exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers during their military service and developed asbestos-related diseases afterward.

Those who served in the Navy, Air Force, U.S. Army Transport Service, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine and were diagnosed with asbestos-related illnesses may seek indemnity to pay for their lost income, medical treatments, and other costs. Legal claims have a statute of limitations, so it's advisable to contact an attorney as soon as possible following the diagnosis to be correctly informed and to avoid filing for claims after the statute of limitations has expired.

Professional legal assistance spares you the situations where you cannot file for compensation, preventing any problematic financial and emotional scenario stemming from it. We can connect you with experienced attorneys who advise you of your rights and options, given your circumstances.

Questions about asbestos exposure? We can help!

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