Between the early 1930s and the mid-1970s, avoiding asbestos on a U.S. Navy ship was virtually impossible. Asbestos was used in most parts of a ship, from the boiler room to the sleeping quarters, given its ability to resist heat and flame.
The high concentration of asbestos on ships endangered the serving personnel and workers who built and repaired these ships in the shipyards.
Inhalation of the asbestos fibers over an extended period can cause long-term inflammatory processes in the lungs and, in 20 to 50 years, can generate asbestos-related health problems, such as asbestosis. A sure sign that there is degenerative activity in the respiratory system is that patients present pleural thickening - a symptom of many pulmonary diseases.
The same inflammation of the lungs can put patients at risk for respiratory disease known as recurrent pneumonia, defined by at least two episodes of pneumonia in one year. Asbestosis and pneumonia are often confused because of the similarities in symptoms:
As with all asbestos-related diseases, early detection is crucial for a proper diagnosis and adequate treatment. The following tests may be done to receive an accurate diagnosis:
- chest X-ray
- CT scan
- pulmonary function tests
Take a VA Pulmonary Function Test if You Were Exposed to Asbestos and Experience Symptoms of Recurrent Pneumonia
The VA awards disability benefits for cancerous disorders that affect the lungs or other parts of the respiratory system. There are two types of respiratory conditions overall:
These disorders require testing with a pulmonary function test, which serves as a basis for VA ratings. The pulmonary function test determines how much the lungs are damaged through the volume of inhaled and exhaled air; as a restrictive respiratory disorder, recurrent pneumonia requires this type of testing to be treated efficiently.
A recurrent pneumonia diagnosis alone doesn't make you eligible for compensation. But considering the frequent misdiagnosis cases, we strongly recommend a second and even third opinion outside the VA. Benign asbestos diseases carry a high risk of becoming cancerous. If you are diagnosed with asbestos-related cancer, you will qualify for compensation.
Because the VA ratings condition the amount of compensation, accurate medical and occupational history is fundamental in establishing the military service connection between asbestos exposure and the asbestos-related cancerous disease stemming from it. These are also important in avoiding misdiagnosis, a common incidence in asbestos exposure cases, and successfully obtaining compensation from the VA.
You May Be Eligible for Compensation or Financial Assistance if You File a Veteran Disability Claim
Veterans who prove that their asbestos-related cancer is due to exposure during their military service could be eligible for VA disability compensation benefits. We offer support and assistance to all veterans and their families and can help you with information about the types of indemnification you could be eligible for. If you seek legal advice, we can put you in touch with the best attorney for your case, who will help with the documentation and then represent you through the process so that you can focus on your treatment and recovery.