Those who have worked in industries with a high risk of asbestos exposure during the 20th century, such as construction, joinery, ship building, railways or aeroplane manufacture, have a higher chance of having been exposed to this toxic substance during their working life.

One of the most distressing things about asbestos-related illnesses is that victims often only show symptoms decades after the exposure that caused their condition actually occurred.  This delayed onset of recognisable symptoms may also mean that diagnosis comes late, which sadly results in some victims of terminal asbestos-related conditions only having a short time remaining to spend with their loved ones.

Some of the symptoms commonly associated with asbestos-related illnesses can also be signs of various other respiratory problems, such as bronchitis, pneumonia or emphysema, so having one or two of these symptoms does not always mean there is an asbestos-related condition present.  We have listed some of the most common symptoms below, and would urge anyone experiencing any of them, who thinks they may have been exposed to asbestos during their lifetime, to consult their doctor.

Shortness of breath or wheeziness

Exposure to asbestos can cause scarring of the body’s respiratory system over time, as the fibres cause damage to the lungs, once inhaled.  Years, or even decades, later, this may result in shortness of breath and can be one sign of an asbestos-related condition, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma or pleural thickening.  If you’re experiencing shortness of breath when carrying out normal activities that have not caused an issue in the past, this could be a sign that you need to get checked out.

A dry cough that won’t go away

Due to the nature of asbestos fibres, they can irritate and damage the lung tissue over the course of many years after first being breathed in.  A dry cough that persists much longer than a normal cough can be a sign that you need to see a medical professional, especially if this symptom is accompanied by any of the other signs mentioned in this post.

Tight chest or chest pain

Along with shortness of breath and coughing or wheezing, experiencing chest pain or a very tight feeling in the chest area can be a sign of mesothelioma, asbestosis or another asbestos-related condition.  Anyone experiencing these symptoms should always seek medical advice.

Finger clubbing

Finger clubbing, which is essentially enlarged fingertips and unusual fingernail growth, can be a sign of asbestosis, mesothelioma, or asbestos-related lung cancer.  It usually occurs in stages rather than suddenly and anyone worried about changes in their hands or fingers should consult their doctor.


It can often be difficult to gauge whether extreme tiredness is just a part of life or a symptom of something being wrong medically.  A key indicator can be whether someone experiences a higher level of fatigue than normal, when not doing anything different in their daily life.  If this is the case, it is always best to visit your GP.

Loss of appetite or weight loss

Unexplained weight loss, despite no changes to eating habits or activity levels, or an unusual loss of appetite, can sometimes be a symptom of a serious underlying illness.  These symptoms may indicate the presence of an asbestos-related illness, such as mesothelioma, and should always be checked out by a medical professional as soon as you notice there is a problem.

If you, or a member of your family, have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness and you would like advice about the options available to you, contact Dedicated Accident Solicitors today.