COPD Symptoms After Asbestos Exposure

COPD is a serious lung disease involving emphysema and bronchitis which gets worse over time. Asbestos exposure causes COPD, which can result in breathing problems, chronic coughing and other respiratory ailments. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death amongst Americans and it’s often present in people who are also suffering from lung mesothelioma, asbestosis and other asbestosndiseases. Find more info about Absestos exposure here


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – also known as COPD – is a progressive respiratory disease, which means it gets worse over time. COPD involves a narrowing of the airways that makes it difficult to breathe. COPD most commonly results in long-term and chronic emphysema and chronic bronchitis. COPD symptoms can include coughing, trouble breathing, asthma-like symptoms, chest pains and a tightness in the chest, mucus discharge, wheezing, and worsening degradation of the lung tissues. A persistent, serious cough and serious difficulty breathing are often the first signs of COPD, which is the fourth most common cause of death in North America. COPD impacts over 12 million people each year in the United States (and it’s estimated that as many as 12 million additional undiagnosed sufferers could exist in the U.S. alone).

What are the Causes of COPD Symptoms?

Unlike other asbestos diseases, like asbestosis and mesothelioma, which are virtually always caused by asbestos exposure, COPD can be caused by other circumstances such as smoking and fume exposure. In fact, a majority of COPD diagnoses are the result of smoking tobacco. But for those who never smoked (and never lived with a smoker), never had a toxic fume exposure and avoided other respiratory system irritants, asbestos exposure is a real potential cause of this lung condition. One study conducted in Sweden revealed that of over 300,000 construction workers, the rate of death from COPD symptoms was more than 2.5 times higher in the workers who were exposed to asbestos. This is just one study that has revealed a link between asbestos and COPD.

Mesothelioma, COPD and Asbestos Exposure

A large percentage of people with pleural mesothelioma also have COPD, which can complicate treatments and worsen a person’s prognosis. COPD complications can include heart problems, high blood pressure and pneumonia. What’s worse, people with COPD are at a higher risk of getting lung cancer mesothelioma after asbestos exposure. This is because the already-damaged lungs of a COPD patient are more susceptible to the damaging asbestos fibers. Asbestos is a mineral that is often found in building materials, insulation, heat-resistant components in vehicles and machinery, and in many industrial settings. Asbestos poses a danger when the asbestos particles become airborne and are then inhaled or ingested. The body cannot flush out the mineral particles, which then proceed to damage the lungs. This causes diseases like mesothelioma, COPD, asbestosis and pleural plaques, among other conditions.

What is the COPD Prognosis?

Overall, the COPD prognosis is fair and it’s significantly affected by the individual’s overall health, age and the presence of any other conditions. COPD is a degenerative disease, meaning it gets worse with time. But proper management of the disease can improve your quality of life and keep the progression of COPD in check. Patients with COPD have a much higher risk of developing lung mesothelioma and other types of lung cancer due to the lung damage. It’s important for COPD patients to avoid potential irritants, also called COPD exacerbation. Incidents of acute COPD exacerbation can lead to sudden and serious illness like pneumonia, which has the potential to be deadly. Common forms of COPD exacerbation can include smoking or exposure to smoke, getting sick with a cold or flu, failing to get enough sleep, exercising too aggressively, being exposed to poor air quality, and dehydration (this thickens mucus and clogs airways). There are a number of COPD treatments available to improve prognosis and quality of life, including medications, breathing treatments, breathing exercises and light physical exercise.

COPD, Disability, Medicare & Other Benefits

COPD may qualify you for Social Security disability benefits and Medicare, especially if you have another condition such as mesothelioma or asbestosis and your COPD prevents you from working. If your COPD is the result of asbestos exposure in the military, you may be eligible for VA benefits, so this is something to investigate if you are a veteran. A number of asbestos trust funds may provide funds to individuals with COPD from asbestos exposure, although obtaining a settlement for this condition (in the absence of other conditions linked almost exclusively to asbestos, like mesothelioma or asbestosis) can be challenging. You must not only prove your COPD arose from asbestos exposure, but some may require you to rule out other potential causes (such as smoking or toxic fume exposure) when seeking compensation from an asbestos trust fund. But this is exactly where an experienced asbestos lawyer can help, providing you with the guidance you need to get the compensation you deserve.

Getting Compensation from an Asbestos Trust Fund

MesoWatch is operated by a group of experienced asbestos lawyers who work with lots of COPD patients, along with individuals impacted by mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other diseases caused by asbestos exposure. We understand the challenges you’re facing and our caring, compassionate team is here to help you and your family get the compensation you deserve for your pain, suffering and other losses.