The term mesothelioma refers to a crucial interal organ – the mesothelium. Your mesothelium is a membrane of tissue that lines three important body cavities and all of the internal organs. The mesothelium is divided into three types that are named according to which cavity they line. The pleural mesothelium lines the cavity housing the lungs, and is affected by the most common form of mesothelioma. The peritoneal mesothelium lines the abdominal cavity, and is the target of the second most common form of mesothelioma. Finally, a rare form of the disease can affect the pericardial mesothelium, often referred to as the heart sac.

Mesothelium Cells

Your mesothelium is comprised of a particular type of cells that are arranged into a single layer. The layer formed by these cells is supported by an irregular series of particularly dense connective tissue. In several places, the cells of the mesothelium become cube-shaped. Also, many mesothelium cells are covered in tiny, hair-like structures. These hold a lubricating fluid that helps the internal organs slide inside the body’s cavities producing only a minimal amount of friction.

Importance of the Mesothelium

The primary purpose of your mesothelium is to protect the internal organs by holding them in place and providing them with a lubricated surface over which they can easily move. Your mesothelium also has a secondary role in transporting both fluids and solids through and across the body cavities. This is especially important for proper immune system functioning.

Pleural Mesothelium

The pleural mesothelium is a membrane that surrounds the lungs, folding once back onto itself to form a double layer for maximum thickness. This fold creates a small space between the layers that is called the pleural cavity. The outer layer lines the cavity and is attached to the cavity walls. It has many nerve endings, making it highly sensitive to pain. The inner layer lines your lungs, bronchial passages and blood vessels.

The pleural mesothelium plays a large role in your ability to breathe comfortably. The lungs require constant lubrication because they expand and contract against the walls of the thoracic cavity with each breath. This mesothelium prevents irritation that occurs as the lungs rub up against the cavity walls. The fluid held in your pleural mesothelium also helps to hold the lungs together by creating a small amount of surface tension.

Peritoneal Mesothelium

The peritoneal mesothelium is a membrane that both surrounds the abdominal cavity and covers all of the organs. It is held in place by a thin layer of connective tissue. Like the pleural mesothelium, it also has two layers comprised of a single continuous sheet folded back on itself. The space between the two layers is called the peritoneal cavity, and it is filled with a lubricating fluid. This fluid helps the organs to shift and slide within the abdominal cavity without causing irritation.

Pericardial Mesothelium

Your pericardial mesothelium is the membrane surrounding your heart. It is often called the heart sac, and like the other types of mesothelium, it forms a double layer with a lubricating fluid between the layers. The pericardial mesothelium is important because, as the heart beats, it must slide smoothly against the walls of the body cavity. It also protects the heart by forming a protective barrier around it.

Mesothelium Disease

Your mesothelium is vulnerable to several diseases, one of which is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that occurs when the cells that comprise the majority of the tissue grow abnormally. When these abnormal cells uncontrollably reproduce cells that are also abnormal, the mesothelioma is said to be malignant. Most cases of malignant mesothelioma eventually spread beyond the mesothelium, affecting other vital body parts and leading to premature death. It is estimated that over 90 percent of malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos.

It is imperative that you contact an experienced mesothelioma lawyer to assess your situation and prospective claim for compensation, and we encourage you to contact the offices of Goldberg & Osborne today. Simply call 1-800-THE-EAGLE (1-800-843-3245) or fill out our online case form for your free, no obligation evaluation. We work at no cost until we win your case!

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