Though manufacturers stopped producing products that included asbestos during the mid-1980s, these materials were used well into the 1990s. Older buildings have a high chance of containing asbestos-laden paints, fiberglass, drywall, vinyl flooring, and other materials.
Unlike some cancers, mesothelioma can take decades to develop. The process begins when tiny asbestos fragments enter the body by ingestion or inhalation. They then work their way into the soft tissues, becoming embedded, where they lie in wait.
Eventually, the particles irritate the cells and a chain reaction of cellular mutations begin as malignant tumors begin to form. One of the four types of mesothelioma, pericardial, impacts the heart. In more advanced stages, heart murmurs are a common symptom that is associated with this mesothelioma.
Indicators of Pericardial Mesothelioma
As previously stated, mesothelioma is rare—yet, pericardial mesothelioma is one of the rarest types of this condition. In fact, pericardial mesothelioma is so rare that only a few hundred cases have ever been recorded. Pericardial mesothelioma develops in the delicate protective lining around the heart.
Two layers make up this membrane, the heart sac, and the epicardium. It is unclear how this form of mesothelioma develops as medical professionals are still learning how asbestos particles reach the heart
In the early stages, most patients with pericardial mesothelioma do not show any symptoms or signs. Unfortunately, this often leads to late diagnosis. Most symptoms are caused when fluid begins to build up and the pericardial layers thicken. These can mimic other heart conditions, which is why pericardial mesothelioma is so difficult to diagnose. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Night Sweats
- Chest Pain
- Shortness of Breath
- Difficulty Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Heart Murmurs
A heart murmur is a sound that is made by blood turbulence as it is pumped through your heart’s valves. A normal heartbeat will make a normal sound as the valves close, but heart murmurs cause unusual sounds. This is not a disease, but rather a condition that normally presents no symptoms or side effects unless it is more extreme. With pericardial mesothelioma, heart murmurs are a symptom that normally develops in advanced stages of cancer.