Does Asbestos Exposure Affect Immunity?

Asbestos exposure can cause several different asbestos-related diseases, from asbestosis, asbestos cancer and mesothelioma to pleural thickening and pleural plaques, and whilst asbestos was fully banned here in the UK back in 1999 those who were exposed to asbestos previous to this will still be at risk. Unfortunately, many asbestos-related diseases won’t be diagnosed until decades after the first exposure took place.

Whilst more is known about asbestos now than ever before, many medical specialists are still unsure as to how asbestos fibres go on to cause life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma. From extensive research, it is clear that the irritation and inflammation caused by the fibres play a role in this, but it is still unknown exactly how asbestos affects things such as immunity as well.

If you know that you have been exposed to asbestos at some point in your life and you’re interested in the effects that it is having on your body, keep reading today. Below we have looked into this in more detail.

How asbestos fibres affect your body

Asbestos fibres are easily inhaled and once they are in your body, they can stay here forever. These fibres are long, extremely thin, microscopic glass-like fibres and they aren't filtered by the nose or the lungs, meaning they can travel deep into the lungs and become a chronic irritant which will cause changes in the cells resulting in the diagnosis of asbestos-related diseases.

The effects that asbestos fibres have on your body will differ depending on several different factors, including;

  • How much asbestos you were exposed to
  • The length of time you were exposed to asbestos
  • Your age when the asbestos exposure occurred
  • The type and size of the asbestos fibres you were exposed to

So, whilst some people may not have any health problems relating to their minimal asbestos exposure, others who were exposed to asbestos over a long period and inhaled hundreds of thousands of asbestos fibres, will likely end up being diagnosed with one of the common asbestos-related diseases.

How asbestos fibres affect your immune system

The effects that asbestos has on the immune system are less well-known than physical effects that asbestos can have on your body, but there have been several studies exploring the effects of asbestos exposure on the immune system. Some of these studies have indicated that immune system function is reduced after asbestos exposure, however, there is no certain answer as to exactly how asbestos fibres affect the immune system.

Research into asbestos exposure and immunity has explored the similarities between the mineral silica and asbestos, the two of which are chemically similar. Those who are exposed to silica often end up developing both lung and autoimmune diseases, so it is clear that silica exposure affects immune tolerance. For this reason, it is thought that asbestos may affect immunity too and that the certain immune system cells which help keep diseases and cancer at bay may be compromised by asbestos exposure.

There are many continuing studies into the effects of asbestos exposure on the immune system and it is thought that specific experiments with asbestos fibres and immune system cells will help scientists to understand what happens when someone is exposed to asbestos. The long-term goal is that this deeper understanding will help with the development of a cure for diseases such as asbestos cancer and mesothelioma.

However, for the time being, unfortunately, there is still no definite answer as to how asbestos exposure affects immunity.

Making a claim relating to your asbestos exposure

Hopefully, the information above will have been beneficial to you and you will now know a little bit more about the damage asbestos fibres can cause and how they can potentially affect immunity. Of course, if you’re worried about the health effects of asbestos and you’re showing any symptoms of the different asbestos-related diseases, be sure to reach out to your doctor. The sooner you do so, the more likely you are to get an early diagnosis and successful treatment plan.

If you have been diagnosed with asbestosis, asbestos cancer or mesothelioma cancer, be sure to reach out to our team here at Asbestos Compensation. Many people don’t realise, but if you have an asbestos-related disease, then it is highly likely that you will be able to claim compensation and we will happily discuss this with you in more detail. Our team is made up of some of the best asbestos solicitors in the UK, all of whom are Law Society and APIL registered and have recovered millions of pounds in compensation for asbestos claims. So, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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