Blood Clotting Disorder
The rise of malignant mesothelioma diagnoses recently is staggering, and is expected to peak in the coming years. This growing epidemic results from the widespread use of asbestos related products in industrial countries. In the United States, asbestos products were common and often used in building materials and shipbuilding.
During the height of asbestos manufacturing, many workers were exposed to airborne asbestos particles. This occupational exposure is the most common cause of later mesothelioma diagnoses. However, environmental or secondary exposure can also cause mesothelioma.
After prolonged and unintentional exposure, asbestos particles become attached to the mesothelium of organs, including the lungs, abdomen or heart. Pleural mesothelioma is the most prevalent mesothelioma cancer, where the pleura or lining around the lungs is affected. Though not as common, peritoneal and pericardial mesothelioma affects the abdomen and heart, respectively.
Many symptoms of mesothelioma are universal among the different classes of the cancer. Blood-clotting disorder is one of the secondary symptoms of mesothelioma cancer, though it is regularly present in peritoneal mesothelioma.
Blood-clotting disorder is a common symptom of peritoneal mesothelioma. As the cancerous cells affect the mesothelium surrounding the abdominal cavity, pressure on the stomach and other organs may cause difficulty in blood flow. If blood cannot flow through the body, clots may form, resulting in either abnormalities in the body’s clotting ability or cause uncontrolled bleeding.
For pericardial mesothelioma, where the protective sac surrounding the heart is affected, blood-clotting disorder may be present. As the cells of the sac become cancerous, the heart struggles to beat, preventing adequate blood flow through the body. If that occurs, blood remains in the heart and surrounding blood vessels, which may lead to a blood clot. If blood is not adequately pumped out of the heart, pain may result along with a severe depletion of oxygen in the blood.
In addition, with pleural mesothelioma, shortness of breath may result from clots forming in the lungs due to the expanding mesothelium. If an individual experience shortness of breath, subsequent coughing may cause small tears in the blood vessels in the lungs, which may lead to a blood clot. Bloodied sputum may also be expectorated.
Blood clots in the lungs are a very serious condition and should be treated immediately. Further blood clots in the lungs may exacerbate breathing difficulties and can cause chest pain. The pain may be localized to the region where the clot is or pain may be general, radiating throughout the chest. Acute pain, along with wheezing and bloodied sputum may signal a blood clot.
If untreated, a blood clotting disorder can lead to anemia, where the number of red blood cells or hemoglobin decreases in the body. Anemia is another common symptom of mesothelioma cancer, and it may result from blood clotting disorder or may present alone.
As with other presenting symptoms, a medical professional must rule out other conditions. A detailed history of an individual along with a thorough physical examination should be performed to determine the source and cause of the blood clotting disorder. If an individual presents other symptoms common with mesothelioma cancer, the subsequent blood clotting abnormality may be a secondary symptom.
Early detection is paramount with blood clotting disorder, and if it remains untreated, can be devastating. Lasting complications of a blood clotting disorder may further impair an individual from recovering from mesothelioma. Through rapid medical research and advancements, the prognosis for mesothelioma cancer constantly improves. As generations of asbestos workers age, it is important to have innovative treatments available.
Blood clotting disorder or coagulopathy is a serious condition that may further exacerbate other symptoms of mesothelioma cancers. If a blood clotting disorder is suspected, seek immediate medical attention.
National Cancer Institute. Mesothelioma: Questions and Answers. Accessed on November 8, 2010.
Alastair J. Moore, Robert J. Parker and John Wiggins. Department of Respiratory Medicine, Wexham Park Hospital, United Kingdom. Malignant Mesothelioma. December 19, 2008. Accessed on November 9, 2010.
The Merck Manual of Health and Aging. Accessed on November 9, 2010.