Of all the places that you might look for signs that you’re getting sick, your fingernails or toenails might not be very high up on the list. However, if you have spent much of your career working with asbestos, your fingernails or toenails could give you an early warning of serious medical issues that you should not ignore.
Clubbed nails are a major asbestos-related warning sign
Whether you worked as a mechanic, a Navy shipyard professional, an installation professional or someone else routinely exposed to asbestos on the job, inhaling particles of asbestos could have done extreme damage to your lungs.
Many times, the symptoms of this damage don’t become obvious for years after the exposure. It may have been so long since you worked with asbestos that you can easily ignore a chronic cough or other signs associated with asbestos-related illnesses. However, if you notice clubbed nails on your hands or feet, you should talk to a doctor sooner rather than later.
Some of the changes common with clubbed nails include your nails curving downward, becoming wider or more round or developing a more pronounced angle against your cuticle. You might also notice softer nail beds or swollen fingertips. These changes can crop up in just a few weeks. Clubbed nails are commonly associated with lung cancer, asbestosis and other diseases that affect the respiratory system.
No matter how long it’s been, you still have rights
It may have been decades since you worked in a facility where you handled asbestos. The company may even have gone out of business.
None of that matters if you are diagnosed with a medical condition directly linked to your work-related asbestos exposure. Discussing your concerns with a lawyer after you receive a diagnosis can give you a better idea of what options you have.