Mesothelioma may take decades to develop and its early symptoms can mimic other illnesses, such as pneumonia or chronic bronchitis. As a result, New Orleans residents who have been exposed to asbestos should be aware of the symptoms of mesothelioma. While mesothelioma is very difficult to treat, early diagnosis and treatment may result in additional treatment options being available to combat this deadly disease.
Mesothelioma is a cancer of the mesothelium – the lining that encloses the abdominal and thoracic organs. The most common form of mesothelioma is pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the pleural membranes enclosing the outer surface of the lungs. Pleural mesothelioma usually causes these membranes to thicken and become hard and fibrous, making breathing difficult. It also commonly leads to pleural effusion — the accumulation of excess fluid around the lungs. Symptoms of pleural mesothelioma include a dry, consistent cough, shortness of breath, pain in the side of the chest, difficulty swallowing, fever and fatigue.
The two other main forms of this disease are peritoneal mesothelioma and pericardial mesothelioma. Peritoneal mesothelioma develops in the abdomen. It causes swelling of the mesothelium covering the abdominal cavity wall and retention of fluid in the abdomen. The first major observable sign of peritoneal mesothelioma is usually abdominal swelling accompanied by pain. Unfortunately, these symptoms mimic appendicitis, pancreatitis, and a number of other gastrointestinal ailments.
More rare is pericardial mesothelioma, which appears in the lining surrounding the heart. As with other forms of the disease, pericardial mesothelioma leads to thickening and hardening of this membrane, putting pressure on the heart. The accumulation of fluid in the pericardium may cause additional pressure. Symptoms of this disease include shortness of breath, heart palpitations and arrhythmia, persistent cough, chest pain and fatigue. Obviously, these symptoms mirror those of several other forms of heart disease.
As with any disease, early discovery of mesothelioma may allow you to better manage your treatment. If you have been exposed to asbestos and have any questions regarding your legal rights, please feel free to call us at 504-581-6411 or 877-581-6411.