One of the naturally occurring mineral products is asbestos. Asbestos is resistant to both corrosion and heat. Because of this, asbestos has been a much valued product in manufacturing. In past years, asbestos was greatly used in products like fire-retardant materials, insulation, some vinyl floor tiles and cement.
Regulation of the use of asbestos and asbestos products was begun by the United States government in the 1970s. For many years now, the handling and use of asbestos has been under strict government regulations.
The reason for this government regulation of asbestos is because heavy, long-term exposure to asbestos in the past before this government regulation was initiated has been responsible for major lung and breathing problems. One of the diseases that results from exposure to asbestos is asbestosis.
Mesothelioma is another disorder that is caused by exposure to asbestos. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that nearly always results from long-term exposure to asbestos in the past. Malignant cells begin to grow in your mesothelium. Many of your body’s internal organs are shielded by mesothelium as a protective lining.
Fortunately, mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, from 2,000 to 3,000 people are affected by this disease every year in the United States.
Your pericardium is the thin sac-like membrane that surrounds your heart. It is a fluid filled sac that protects your heart.
Pericardial mesothelioma is mesothelioma that develops in your pericardium. Pericardial mesothelioma is thought to be one of the rarest kinds of mesothelioma. It accounts for about 10% of all the cases of mesothelioma that occur each year in the United States.
The only thing that is known to cause pericardial mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. The way in which microscopic asbestos fibers reach your pericardial lining is unknown. Doctors think that when you inhale asbestos fibers, they are absorbed into your bloodstream and become entangled in your pericardium as your blood processes through your heart.
There are several signs and symptoms that may be an indication of pericardial mesothelioma. Some of these are:
- Chest pain
- Night sweats or fever
- Dyspnea (problems with breathing, even when you are at rest)
- Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or heart palpitations
- Heart murmurs
- Orthopnea (dyspnea that takes place when you are lying down).