The mesothelium is a layer of epithelial tissue that surrounds specific organs in the body. The mesothelium surrounds organs in the chest, abdominal cavity, and pelvis. These membranes are generally unimportant unless a disorder has developed in the mesothelium.
Mesothelium tissue is found in four major regions in the body. Those mesothelial areas are the lungs, the heart, the abdomen, and the testicles.
The mesothelium of the lungs is called the pleural mesothelium. Two mesothelial membranes surround the lungs: the visceral pleura and the parietal pleura. The visceral pleura is in direct contact with the lungs, while the parietal pleura makes up the outer lining of the lung cavity.
The mesothelial tissue surrounding the heart is called the pericardium. The pericardium surrounds the heart and the mediastinum, separating the heart from the rest of the chest.
The mesothelium surrounding the abdomen is known as the peritoneum. The peritoneum is divided into two layers: the visceral peritoneum and the parietal peritoneum. The visceral peritoneum lies on the internal organs of the abdomen, while the parietal peritoneum lines the abdominal and pelvic walls.
Finally, the mesothelium that lines the inside wall of the testes in male people is called the tunica vaginalis.
The mesothelium serves many purposes. On a basic level, the mesothelium provides a slippery surface to allow the organs of the chest to slide by one another during movement and breathing. Other secondary purposes of the mesothelium include:
While many of these functions are vague, the mesothelium is one of the least relevant organs of the body unless a disorder of the mesothelium develops.
When the mesothelium is exposed to asbestos, the fibrous minerals will repeatedly irritate and damage the tissue, particularly in the lungs, where asbestos particles end up after they are inhaled. When mesothelium is damaged repeatedly, many negative conditions can arise. The most notable conditions caused by mesothelium damage include:
These conditions can range from harmful to fatal and are often difficult to identify or treat.
Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that often occur as a result of abdominal surgery. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that can trap intestines, cause obstructions, or harden the pliable mesothelium. Adhesion symptoms include abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, bloating, or vomiting. Adhesions that occur in the pelvis or genital area can also cause infertility.
Fibrosis is the development of fibrous connective tissue that forms as a response to inflammation. Fibrosis is one of several lung diseases that can make breathing painful or difficult.
One of the most famous asbestos-related diseases alongside asbestosis, mesothelioma is a rare, aggressive cancer that occurs when mesothelium cells mutate and begin to multiply uncontrollably. Mesothelioma can occur in the pleural mesothelium, the pericardium, the peritoneal mesothelium, or the tunica vaginalis.
Symptoms of mesothelioma include coughing, difficulty swallowing, abdominal pain, bloating, or chest pain. Mesothelioma can be treated through surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation, but often, mesothelioma is untreatable.
Pleural effusions are one of a number of asbestos pleural diseases. These conditions are caused by asbestos particles trapped in the lungs and can vary in presentation. Pleural effusions are a name given to the buildup of fluid in the cavity between the layers of pleural mesothelioma. These effusions can create difficulty breathing or chest pain. Similar to pleural effusions, pericardial effusions are fluid buildups in the layers of tissue lining the heart.
If you have been exposed to asbestos and have developed any cancers, including mesothelioma or asbestosis, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the costs of medical expenses, pain, suffering, or lost wages. In order to file and prevail in your personal injury lawsuit, you will need the help of an experienced Personal Injury Attorney.
With their legal expertise, trial tactics, and expert witnesses, your Personal Injury attorney will be able to zealously advocate for you in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Additionally, since Personal Injury attorneys work on contingency, if you don’t win, you don’t pay.