Thickening of the lungs
The scar tissue from asbestos inhalation, or other harmful substances in the workplace, cause the lining of the lungs and chest cavity to thicken. This can reduce the capacity of the lungs and therefore limit the ability to inhale and exhale air, causing breathlessness and shortness of breath.
Many people, when reading about pleural thickening often ask; what is the pleural membrane? The pleural membrane is a thin lining of tissue that covers the lungs (visceral pleura) and the inside of the chest cavity (parietal lining).
Pleural Plaques often form on the parietal pleural on the inside of the lung cavity and are discrete in nature with very minimal symptoms. Pleural Thickening is more widespread across the whole lung surface, usually occurring on the visceral lining of the lung itself and the symptoms are typically more severe.
Asbestos-related pleural thickening will likely affect both lungs but there are, of course, other causes for pleural thickening that are non-asbestos related such as radiation exposure or chronic pneumonia. However, these typically affect only one lung.
Pleural Thickening Symptoms
Typical symptoms usually don’t stem beyond breathing difficulties and chest pain. If the pleural thickening were to lead to mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer affecting organ linings such as the lungs, then symptoms can, of course, be worse. Some of the main symptoms of pleural thickening are:
- Weight loss
- A persistent cough
- Difficulties swallowing
If you have been experiencing pleural thickening symptoms or have been diagnosed with the condition then it is important to have regular screenings to monitor any presence of cancerous cells.
Diffuse pleural thickening refers to more extensive scarring of the pleural membrane but incorporates pleural thickening as a whole.
Pleural Thickening Causes
As previously stated, one of the main causes of pleural thickening is a prolonged exposure to asbestos. A pleural thickening prognosis may use CT scans, X ray’s and MRI scans but a medical professional will always ask whether you have had any previous exposure to asbestos when determining a pleural thickening prognosis.
Accident Line Direct
If you are suffering from symptoms of an asbestos-related illness such as pleural thickening then you may be entitled to compensation. If you wish to start a claim or are simply looking for more information then call us today for expert advice.
Posted in: Industrial Disease on Thursday 4 January 2018
by Oliviah Rix-Taylor