If you’ve recently been diagnosed with sclerosing pleuritis and you know that you’ve been exposed to asbestos, you have a good reason for concern. Sclerosing pleuritis is a condition that is caused by exactly the kind of inflammatory response that is seen in malignant pleural mesothelioma and can often be the first symptom of the rare and fatal form of cancer.
What is Sclerosing Pleuritis?
Sclerosing pleuritis is a form of pleurisy that is differentiated by the fact that it includes a fibrotic process. Pleurisy is a sharp, stabbing chest pain that is caused by inflammation in the lining of the lungs. The patient’s discomfort is made worse when they breathe.
To understand how pleurisy impacts a patient, you need to know that there are two layers of pleura that make up the lining of the lungs: one covers the lung itself and the other covers the inner wall of the chest. Normally, about 10 to 20 ml of pleural fluid flow between these two layers in order to keep them lubricated and keep them from adhering to one another.
When the lungs become inflamed by a foreign substance, the amount of fluid between the two layers increases. This is called pleural effusion. Because the pleura contains nerve endings and are sensitive to pain, the increased pressure from the fluid and inflammation cause extreme discomfort. The more fluid builds up, the worse the pain becomes, leading to difficulty in breathing. Patients with pleural effusion also often experience uncontrollable coughing and tenderness in either the chest or the back, depending upon where the inflammation originates.
When a patient has sclerosing pleuritic, the pleurisy is complicated by fibrous growth. Though the condition is not cancerous, the fibers are often mistaken for mesothelioma tumors. More importantly, they are often an early warning sign of mesothelioma, especially in patients who have a known history of exposure to asbestos.
Diagnosing Scleroting Pleuritis
People who experience the symptoms of scleroting pleuritis frequently think they are suffering a heart attack. This is both because of the pain in their chest and the struggle to breathe. In order to diagnose the condition, your physician will listen to your breathing to see if they can hear a characteristic rubbing of the layers of the pleura. Chest X-ray, ultrasound, and CT scan are also excellent methods of diagnosing the condition without the need for any kind of invasive procedure.
Once the fluid and fibrous tissue are seen, the physician will likely have you undergo a procedure to remove a sample of the fluid and tissue from your pleural lining. They will analyze the contents of the fluid in order to help them diagnose the cause and come up with an appropriate treatment. If you have been exposed to asbestos, they will look for malignant mesothelioma cancer cells, as well as lung cancer cells.
Treating Scleroting Pleuritis
Your first concern lies in eliminating your pain, and your physician will likely provide you with an external splint of the chest wall and pain medication for immediate relief. The next step will be to address the underlying disease that is responsible for your body’s inflammatory response. If you have mesothelioma, you will likely undergo further testing to determine the stage of your disease and what treatment is most appropriate for the type of mesothelioma cells are found your overall health, and other factors.
If your physician has said that malignant mesothelioma is the cause of your scleroting pleuritis, you are dealing with a host of questions. If you’re wondering how you will pay for your medical expenses and are concerned about your family’s future financial security, we can help. Call Danziger & De Llano today for a personal consultation about your legal options.
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