It’s easy to put off checkups, especially if you have no immediate health concerns. But, if you’ve been exposed to asbestos – or any toxic substance – it’s important to let your doctor know so there can be monitoring specifically for those symptoms.
What steps should you take?
• Go to your doctor for regular checkups
• Discuss your exposures each visit. Should you have additional tests to track any symptoms that might develop over a period of time? Most tests are painless and can detect lung scarring and pleural plaques. There is also a test for lung function called spirometry. The earlier symptoms are detected, the more options exist for treatment.
• Don’t wait for a yearly exam if you notice any new symptoms occurring, such as shortness of breath or chest pain. These could be warnings of a variety of serious issues including mesothelioma, lung cancer, or heart issues. Get additional information on mesothelioma symptoms.
• Does the knowledge you were exposed to asbestos and could develop a deadly disease, such as mesothelioma, worry you and impact your life now? If so, speak to a counselor who can help you deal with this and improve your life.
• Be proactive about your health. A healthy diet, exercise, and quiting smoking can build the health of your lungs and can even lessen the risk of developing asbestos-related lung cancer.
Worry and fear will not decrease your chances of developing an asbestos-related disease, but knowledge and regular medical exams may. Even if you’d never develop a serious disease from your exposure, these simple steps can give you an overall healthier life.