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The Relationship Between Asbestosis and Mesothelioma

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					In order to fully understand the relationship between asbestosis and
mesothelioma, and clearly distinguish between these diseases, we must
first learn about the cause, then set about defining each condition in a
clear, yet non-technical manner.


What is Asbestos? The name Asbestos was first given to this toxic
mineral by the Ancient Greeks, and the word -œAsbestos-• literally means
inextinguishable. Throughout much of the twentieth century asbestos was
widely used in industry because of it's resistance to heat and flame,
resistance to electricity and excellent insulation and sound proofing
qualities. It is estimated that there are approximately 3,000 different
commercial products which include the use of asbestos in the manufacture
process.    Asbestos is made up of tiny microscopic fibers which are
invisible to the naked eye, and these fibres will often become airborne
when the material is damaged or disturbed. Once carried by air, the
fibres may be inhaled into the lungs or even swallowed into he digestive
system where they will almost certainly cause long term, significant
health problems. Inhaled asbestos fibers will remain in the body and
never be expelled, and because of this, the fibers penetrate body tissues
and will often deposit themselves in airways and lung tissue.     There
are six minerals which are defined as "asbestos" types. These are
chrysotile, crocidolite, amosite, actinolite, tremolite and
anthophyllite. The three most commonly used asbestos types are classed as
white, brown, and blue, and it is the brown and blue asbestos types which
are most often associated with being the cause of mesothelioma. Millions
of people all over the world have been affected by the inhalation of
asbestos fibers, putting them at risk of contracting asbestosis,
mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other deadly diseases directly caused by
these toxic levels of asbestos.    What is Asbestosis? Asbestosis is a
noncancerous, chronic inflammatory medical condition which scars the
parenchymal tissue of the lungs, and is caused by the inhalation of toxic
levels of asbestos fibers. The asbestos fibres activate the lung's immune
system which causes an inflammatory process resulting in connective-
tissue-based scars to form a condition known as fibrosis. This scar
tissue will slowly builds up, to the extent where it reduces the lung's
ability to deliver oxygen to the blood and remove carbon dioxide. The
lung capacity may also be reduced which in turn will lead to breathing
problems. In severe cases of asbestosis the impairment of lung function
places a tremendous strain on the heart, causing heart disease, such as
right-sided heart failure or "cor pulmonale." Signs and symptoms of
asbestosis will typically not become apparent until years after exposure.
But once diagnosed, the condition will often worsen and lead to severe
disability and even death if the exposure to asbestos continues.      What
is Mesothelioma? Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that affects the
cells that form the mesothelium, the membrane surrounding the main organs
of the body. Mesothelioma is almost always caused by exposure to asbestos
fibers or dust and primarily strikes those individuals who have worked
with asbestos products. Others have been exposed to asbestos fibers in
their homes, often without knowing it. Because of the latency of the
cancer, it will typically not appear for 20 to 50 or more years after the
initial exposure. There are approximately 3,000 to 4,000 new cases of
mesothelioma reported in the United States each year, mostly amongst men
over the age of 40, and the figure is on the increase. It is estimated
that there will be approximately 250,000 cases of Mesothelioma before
2020.    Whilst asbestosis and mesothelioma share a common cause.. the
inhalation of asbestos fibers... they are entirely different conditions,
and there are few similarities between the two illnesses. Asbestosis is
the build up of scar tissue on the lungs, which restricts their expansion
and contraction. Early signs of the illness include a shortage of breath
after physical exertion. During the later stages, the shortness of breath
occurs even at times of rest. Other symptoms of asbestosis are chest
pains and bouts of coughing. Asbestosis is quite often mis-diagnosed as
being asthma particularly because many of the symptoms of the two
conditions are similar. Physicians deal with a lot more cases of asthma
than they do asbestosis. Mesothelioma is a form of cancer that affects
the mesothelium of certain internal organs. Although the symptoms of
asbestosis and mesothelioma are similar, in the case of mesothelioma, it
is cancerous cells that are causing these symptoms. Asbestosis is a non-
cancerous illness...Asbestosis is quite often mis-diagnosed as being
asthma particularly because many of the symptoms of the two conditions
are similar. Physicians see a lot more cases of asthma than they do
asbestosis.    There are also major differences in the treatments of
asbestosis and mesothelioma. Whilst treatment for asbestosis centers
around preventing the condition from deteriorating and easing the
symptoms, treatment for mesothelioma will depend on how far the cancer
has developed. If diagnosed early enough, there is a good possibility
that the cancerous tumors can be removed or abnormal cells killed using
radiation or chemotherapy. Later stages of mesothelioma cancer can be
treated, but treatment becomes more difficult if the cancer has spread to
other parts of the body. Regardless of the type of treatment, both
asbestosis and mesothelioma have a very poor prognosis.      Trevor
Taylor writes of his experiences in the Asbestosis and Mesothelioma arena
Asbestosis Mesothelioma Information Symptoms Of Mesothelioma Treatment
Of Mesothelioma


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