top of page

What are the 4 Major Asbestos-Related Diseases and Symptoms?

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

Asbestos has been used for decades in construction materials due to its durability, heat resistance, and insulation properties. However, over time, it became clear that asbestos exposure can lead to serious health risks.

Asbestos-related diseases are a frequent problem many homeowners face, particularly those living in older homes built before the 1980s. Now the question is, do you understand the effects of asbestos on the body? Well, one thing is true, it is not just an allergy.

In this blog post, we'll look at the four major asbestos-related diseases, their symptoms, and the steps to take to protect yourself and your family from this dangerous material.

4 Major Health Complications Due to Asbestos Exposure

By being exposed to asbestos for long periods, you risk developing threatening diseases and medical conditions.

Asbestos Complications

Lung Cancer

Asbestos exposure is a significant risk factor for lung cancer. Cancer may take many years to develop, but the risk is much higher for people exposed to asbestos. Developing lung cancer will deteriorate your breathing quality, damage your organs, and eventually expand to other parts if not treated on time. Studies show that 4% of lung diseases and cancer comes from asbestos exposure in the United States.


Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is caused by inhaling asbestos fibers and causes inflammation and scarring, leading to more severe cancer phases. Approximately 2 to 10% of people exposed to asbestos materials develop mesothelioma, which can show up from 20 to 60 years after exposure. This asbestos-related disease can be lethal to property owners as life expectancy can range from 12 to 22 months in the worst cases.


Asbestosis is a chronic lung disease caused by prolonged exposure to asbestos. It occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled and trapped in the lungs, leading to scarring, inflammation, and breathing difficulty. Asbestosis symptoms may include shortness of breath, chest pain, cough, and wheezing, usually leading to sleeping problems. This condition can lead to other lung diseases, like cancer, pulmonary hypertension, and respiratory problems.

Pleural thickening

Pleural thickening is a disease that causes the lining of the lungs to become thick and stiff, making it difficult to breathe. The cause is a buildup of scar tissue in response to asbestos fibers that have become lodged. Although not as lethal as cancer, it decreases lifestyle quality significantly.

What are Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?

What are Symptoms of Asbestos Exposure?

The effects of asbestos exposure can be quite severe and can lead to various symptoms. In the short run, it may affect your everyday life. Here are some of the most common symptoms homeowners may experience because of asbestos complications.


As you breathe tiny asbestos fibers, you may experience prolonged coughing as your lungs will become irritated. You may have difficulties sleeping or performing everyday routines.

Shortness of breath

Once asbestos enters your lungs, the particles will be trapped inside your body, making it hard to breathe and developing respiratory problems.

Eyes and Skin Irritation

Asbestos-containing materials released into the air can irritate your eyes and skin, resulting in redness, itchy, and burning sensations.

Chest pain

Asbestos fibers released into the air can cause chest pain and tightness as it harms and irritates the lung and causes tachycardia.


Due to the shortness of breath, you will experience fatigue and dizziness, a sign that your body is not receiving enough oxygen and struggles to process asbestos particles.


Asbestos exposure can also cause allergic reactions, including sneezing, runny nose, and wheezing sound.


If a family member has an asthma history, asbestos fibers can trigger asthma episodes in people with this condition.

How long after exposure to asbestos do symptoms appear?

Asbestos exposure symptoms may take time to reflect into the body. Medical professionals argue that the effects of asbestos on the body may show up between 10 to 40 years before becoming complications.

The reason is that asbestos particles can remain inside your body for years and even decades before producing any noticeable side effects. The severity of symptoms will depend on the amount of asbestos contamination in your property. We recommend monitoring your home's air quality and health to discover asbestos fibers or contaminated material exposure.

Atlantic Bay Contracting has over 30 years of experience helping property owners identify asbestos complications that might affect their health.

Effects of Asbestos on the Body

What happens if you breathe in asbestos once?

Breathing in asbestos once is not likely to cause any serious health effects. Over time, breathing asbestos fibers increases the chances of developing serious diseases and health problems, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis. Limiting asbestos exposure can help to reduce the risk of developing medical conditions. Hiring asbestos removal experts can help you safeguard your property's air quality and health.

Can asbestos affect your heart?

Yes, asbestos exposure shows a connection to an increased risk of heart disease. Asbestos fibers can cause inflammation of the heart tissue, which leads to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Additionally, asbestos increases the risk of coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis, which can cause heart failure.

Does asbestos affect the brain?

Although less common, asbestos exposure can cause brain damage, such as tumors, seizures, vision changes, and headaches. However, just 0.19% of brain cancer cases are likely a result of asbestos spreading from other organs to the head.

How do you test yourself for asbestos exposure?

We don't recommend testing yourself for asbestos exposure, as you won't be able to get an accurate picture of your current health and home condition. We recommend hiring experienced professionals to identify the cause of your problems and provide solutions to your needs.

Testing for Asbestos Diseases

If you think you may have suffered asbestos exposure, contact your doctor or healthcare provider immediately. Your doctor can order tests to check for asbestos fibers in your lungs or other tissues. These tests can help determine asbestos exposure and if you have any health problems related to it.

Testing for asbestos materials in your property

On the other hand, hiring an asbestos inspector can help you determine if your property has asbestos-containing materials. Our asbestos abatement and removal services include a comprehensive process that ensures we recover your home's air quality and safety. We use the latest gear and equipment so that our services meet the highest standards.

Asbestos Health Effects Conclusion

Asbestos is a harmful material that may denigrate your living quality and threaten your health and loved ones if not found on time. Some of the effects of asbestos on the body include:

  • Lung cancer

  • Mesothelioma

  • Asbestosis

  • Pleural thickening

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest pain

  • Fatigue

  • Allergies

  • Coughing

As a homeowner with concerns about asbestos complications in your home, it's vital to have it professionally inspected and removed. Don't wait until it's too late! Luckily, Atlantic Bay Contracting is an experienced asbestos removal company with over 30 years of experience helping property owners with their needs in Massachusetts. Contact us today and request a quote with us. Be sure that your family and home are in the right hands!

Asbestos Removal Company


bottom of page