What are Mesothelioma and Asbestosis?
Throughout the medical field, there are multiple ailments that are often confused with one another. This can lead to a large amount of confusion for those suffering from these illnesses when working with their health practitioner to determine the best form of action. Two ailments that often cause this issue is Mesothelioma and Asbestosis.
One of the main defining characteristics that can be used to determine the difference between the two is their symptoms. Although they do share many symptoms including a cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, and weight loss, there are other symptoms that are specific to only one of them.
Asbestosis – Finger clubbing – Nail deformities
Mesothelioma – Fatigue – Fluid around the lungs (Pleural Effusion) – Fever – Night Sweats
While having symptoms that are the same will make it initially difficult to distinguish between the two conditions if a patient develops a symptom that is specific to one of the two ailments the doctor will be able to more easily make a diagnosis.
More information that is important for patients to understand is the differences in the way that the two illnesses are diagnosed. This will allow them to feel more comfortable when working with their doctor to better their health. Diagnosis takes place during a multi-step process. The first step to this process is, to begin with, imaging is done with either X-Rays or a CT Scan, depending on which method your doctor prefers to use. By viewing the results doctors will be able to determine which of the two is the most likely choice. In order to determine if it is Mesothelioma, the health practitioner will look for a large amount of whiteness on the chart and then order a biopsy or blood work to confirm his/her choice.
It is also important that the patient understands what the prognosis of their sickness is. Unfortunately, those diagnosed with Mesothelioma generally are given a lifespan of anywhere from four to twelve months. For Asbestosis the patients usually do not face a fatal case of it but instead may notice their quality of life decline and time progresses. Because these are two different conditions there are different ways in which they are combated.
Asbestosis – Inhalers (also known as Bronchodilators) – Oxygen tanks – Pain medications – Pulmonary medications – Antibiotics
Asbestosis treatment is rarely as aggressive as the treatment used for Mesothelioma because Asbestosis is classified as a lung disease while Mesothelioma is cancer. This is cancer which specifically attacks the Mesothelial tissue. In some cases where the Asbestosis is unusually aggressive, it is possible that the health practitioner will choose a lung transplant as the best option. However, one common thing between the two conditions is the fact that both are contracted due to the inhalation of asbestos particles.
Both conditions are also occasionally treated using Thoracentesis. This is a procedure that is considered to be minimally invasive that involves draining some of the excess fluids from the patient’s lungs, allowing them to breathe more comfortably.