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Pleural plaques Caused By Exposure to Asbestos

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What Are Pleural Plaques?

Pleural plaques are an asbestos-related condition. The presence of pleural plaques is a clear indication of past exposure to asbestos and of the risk of serious asbestos-related diseases appearing later in life.

Pleural plaques are benign, which means they are not cancerous and represent a fibrous thickening of the lining of the lung (pleura) or diaphragm. The condition develops usually 20-40 years after either significant or even low, intermittent exposure to asbestos. It can affect both layers of the pleura, the pariental layer that lines the inside of the rib cage and the visceral layer, that lines the lung. It can also affect the diaphragm.

Symptoms of Pleural Plaques

These are normally asymptomatic and the function of the lungs is not affected. However, some patients complain of chest pain and in cases where multiple pleural plaques are present, breathing may become difficult.


Diagnosis of Diffuse Pleural Plaques

The condition is diagnosed using an X-ray or CT scan usually by accident as this condition is asymptomatic. It looks similar to pleural thickening.

Procedures & Treatment for Pleural plaques Caused By Asbestos Exposure

Treatment is not usually recommended as the lung function remains mostly unaffected in the majority of the cases. To avoid further damage, exposure to asbestos must be stopped and giving up smoking is also recommended. Due to the history of exposure to asbestos, it is crucial to remain alert in case any other symptoms appear such as chest pain, coughing up blood, in which case a referral to a specialist is highly advisable.

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