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Senior Citizens and the Risks of Pleural Mesothelioma

Posted on: 2014 11 24

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people between the ages of 65 to 74 are diagnosed with mesothelioma each year more than any other age group, with pleural mesothelioma being the most common form of the disease. This is largely due to two main factors: the long latency period of mesothelioma and the fact that many senior citizens once worked at job sites where asbestos was heavily used prior to strict regulations. Asbestos exposure is the most common reason that mesothelioma develops. Jobs Associated with High Asbestos Use Unfortunately, countless industries once relied on asbestos for its heat and fire-resistant properties. The military, in particular, once used asbestos generously throughout ships, barracks, production lines, tanks, chemical plants, and much more. In fact, according to Military.com, from 1930 until around 1970, almost every naval ship contained asbestos and asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). People who worked on and around these ships and in other branches of the military are at high- risk of developing mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses. Although asbestos use was discontinued by the military in the 1980s, people currently in the military can still be affected. Numerous flooring tiles, ceiling tiles, insulation, and structures that contain asbestos are still in use by the military today. Other industries and jobs that commonly used asbestos include:

  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive
  • Mining
  • Fire (fire stations)
  • Insulation
  • Paper Mills
  • Steel Mills
  • Power Plants
  • Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
  • HVAC
  • Brick and Stone Masonry
  • Welding
  • Iron Works

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed strict regulations on asbestos use at job sites in the late 1970s. Yet, the regulations came well after a plethora of workers across the nation had already been exposed to asbestos for prolonged periods of time. The Long Latency of Pleural Mesothelioma Another major contributing factor that leads to senior citizens developing pleural mesothelioma is the long latency period associated with the disease. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it can take anywhere from 15 years to 50 years before the first symptoms of mesothelioma appear. Therefore, people who worked around asbestos decades ago many live through many years without the slightest clue that they were at risk of developing a life-threatening disease. To make matters worse, once the initial symptoms of mesothelioma surface, they generally mimic symptoms of common respiratory ailments, such as the flu or a cold. The first symptoms of pleural mesothelioma may include:

  • Chest congestion
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Difficulties with swallowing

Once symptoms start to appear, it typically means that mesothelioma has reached its advanced stages. Health quickly deteriorates after this point, leaving many victims wondering how the disease happened so fast. However, in most cases, senior citizens can link the disease back to asbestos exposure at jobs they worked at many decades ago. As a result, a good majority of mesothelioma victims have legal rights and file a mesothelioma lawsuit against the manufacturers that supplied asbestos to the job sites. If you’ve worked in any of the aforementioned industries, it’s important not only to get routine medical check-ups, but also inform your physician that you may have been exposed to asbestos. The earlier it is detected, the better chances you have of treatments working more effectively.

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