3. Reduced chest expansion
It can take 20 to 50 years from initial exposure to asbestos to the onset of mesothelioma symptoms. The signs of the disease differ according to its form, and reduced chest expansion is related to pleural mesothelioma. Reduced chest expansion is often a symptom of advanced stages of the disease and is caused by the lack of space in the chest. This problem is usually the result of severe pleural effusions, which is a symptom of mesothelioma and related to inflammation of the lung from a tumor growth. Pleural effusions consist of a large amount of fluid accumulated between the lungs and chest cavity.
Healthy people have a certain amount of fluid in the pleura, pericardium, and peritoneum which keeps the organs moist. A couple of teaspoons of fluid is normal, but any more and the body will naturally expel it. However, patients who suffer from mesothelioma cannot properly evacuate the fluid and it accumulates in the space between the lungs and chest cavity. In severe cases, the fluid prevents the lungs from functioning normally, causing difficulties breathing, wheezing, shortness of breath and reduced chest expansion.