Chronic Bronchitis and Asbestos Exposure During Military Service

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According to the most recent statistics, there are more than 18 million veterans living in the U.S. today. According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), veterans account for 30 percent of the estimated 3,000 mesothelioma cases diagnosed each year and the 10,000 annual deaths from all asbestos-related diseases.

Prior to the mid-1970s, the unrivaled properties of asbestos made it a highly desirable shipbuilding material. Generally, reliable work histories provide the most practical and useful measure of occupational asbestos exposure. Navy jobs that were at high risk of long-term asbestos exposure include boilermen, pipefitters, hull technicians, welders, machinist mates, damage controlmen, shipbuilders, electrician's mates, and machinery repair technicians.

Asbestos Exposure Can Increase a Person's Risk of Developing Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases

Asbestos becomes dangerous when microscopically thin fibers enter the lungs or stomach. When released, these fibers become lighter than air and can essentially float for up to 72 hours. When asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, they can penetrate the cells in the lining of the lungs and become stuck there. The fact that asbestos-related diseases have a long period of latency, up to over 30 years, makes it difficult to prove causality.

Bronchitis is an inflammation of the lining of the bronchial tubes, the air passages that carry air to your lungs. Bronchitis can be either acute or chronic. Chronic bronchitis is a more serious condition that occurs when the bronchial tubes repeatedly become irritated and inflamed. It's characterized by breathing difficulties and increased mucus in the lungs. According to the results of several scientific studies, a significant number of cases of chronic bronchitis have been reported in people exposed to asbestos.

Common signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis and asbestos exposure:

  • persistent cough
  • wheezing
  • tightness in the chest
  • a sore throat
  • body aches
  • breathlessness
  • fatigue
  • unintended weight loss

Both emphysema and chronic bronchitis are two most common conditions that contribute to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - a long-term lung condition. A significant number of people with a history of asbestos exposure develop COPD, which in the future, might lead to more serious diseases like pleural mesothelioma, pleural thickening, pleural plaques, and lung cancer.

Suffering From Chronic Bronchitis as a Result of Asbestos Exposure Makes You Considerably More Likely to Develop Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer

The dominant illnesses that mimic chronic bronchitis symptoms are pneumonia and asthma. Shortness of breath, episodes of wheezing and coughing, are common signs and symptoms of chronic bronchitis and asbestos exposure, which definitely boost questions about the diagnosis. It is imperative to know that suffering from chronic bronchitis as a result of asbestos exposure makes you considerably more likely to develop mesothelioma and lung cancer in the years to come.

Lack of perceivable symptoms in the early stages of any asbestos-related illness contributes to tardy diagnosis. Due to the extensive use of asbestos in naval ships, veterans who served in the Navy should participate in regular screenings for the rest of their life to ensure timely diagnosis of all pulmonary asbestos-related conditions.

One of the criteria for the accurate diagnosis of asbestos-related pulmonary disorders is the exclusion of alternative plausible causes for the clinical findings, which is why physicians should obtain details of the patient's history of exposure to asbestos.

Pulmonary function tests can reveal reduced lung function because of restriction caused by scaring. If your doctor thinks you might have an asbestos-related illness, an X-ray may help your physician to see irregular opacities or small nodules, usually in the lower part of the lungs. When X-ray results do not provide sufficient clarity, doctors use computerized tomography scanning to check the pleural lining around the lungs for signs of asbestos exposure. Inhaling asbestos, may lead to the formation of pleural plaques, which can support a diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma or asbestos lung cancer.

Chronic Bronchitis Misdiagnosis May Affect Your Treatment and Prognosis, but Also the Financial Compensation You Deserve

Generally, patients with chronic bronchitis do not file a claim because they think their illness is not severe enough to deserve financial compensation. If the majority of the asbestos exposure occurred during active duty asbestos diseases entitle veterans to compensation benefits. Veterans may be eligible to receive rightful compensation from one or multiple asbestos trust funds and VA disability compensations for chronic bronchitis if they can prove that their condition was acquired while in military service.

Misdiagnosis is very common among asbestos exposure victims and for this reason, we advise veterans to always seek a second opinion from a doctor specializing in asbestos-related diseases. In addition to the further advancement of the illness, injury or complications from the wrong treatment and permanent disabilities, a misdiagnosis can also lead to recovering less amount of compensation than that you are entitled to because the financial compensation is mainly decided on the basis of the severity of your disease, meaning that the most severe asbestos-related diseases receive the highest compensation values. To learn more, call us at 760.621.6147

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