Asbestos related pleural thickening
Asbestos related pleural thickening is a fibrous layer of tissue covering a significant portion of the surface of the lung called the pleura. The thickening can lead to a loss of lung function due to constriction of the lung and chest pain. Pleural thickening may be caused by agents other than asbestos – tuberculosis used to be a common cause.
Asbestos related pleural thickening can be diagnosed on chest x-ray but is best shown on CT scanning. It usually manifests 10 to 15 years after first exposure to asbestos and is thought to be a consequence of an early benign asbestos-induced pleural effusion in some people.
Unfortunately, there is no specific cure for pleural thickening. Once the damage has been done it is irreversible. Diagnosis of this disease is extremely important because there is a possibility that pleural thickening could cause additional complications further on.
Regularly visiting your local doctor or GP should be maintained to monitor the condition. To try and retain as much lung function as possible an establishment of a fitness routine may be beneficial. This is something that should be discussed with the doctor.
In addition, it is important to try to give up smoking as it will potentially decrease lung function even further.
Benign pleural effusion
Benign pleural effusions are fluid that appears in the pleural space. They can be unilateral or bilateral and can present on one side then the other. They may occur within five years of first exposure and usually decease in frequency after that.
Benign pleural effusions can be associated with chest pain and fever. There may also be breathlessness depending on the size of the effusion. They may leave pleural thickening behind once resolved.
It is said that for a benign effusion to be asbestos related there must be a history of exposure to asbestos; other causes of the effusion must be excluded and a malignancy must not develop on the side of the effusion.
If the fluid is aspirated it will have the characteristics of an exudate and may be blood stained.
For more information regarding pleural thickening or any other asbestos related diseases, get in touch with us on 13 43 63 or get in touch with us online. Alternatively, you can visit us in our Perth CBD office.