Asbestos Pleural Disease

What is Asbestos Pleural Disease?

Asbestos related pleural disease is generally referred to as being asbestos related pleural effusion. Symptoms include shortness of breath and discomfort. When the pleural fluid eventually goes away, the pleura on the lung may become thickened which can compress the lung.

Asbestos pleural disease is a non-malignant disease caused by inhalation of asbestos fibers that scar the pleura. The pleura is the thin membrane lining the lung and chest cavity. If the scarring is diffuse and extends along the chest wall, it is called pleural thickening. If the scarring is more focused and well–defined, it is called pleural plaques.

Symptoms and diagnosis of Asbestos Pleural Disease

Asbestos pleural disease results in a similar scarring process as the one that occurs inside the lung with asbestosis; however, it occurs in the lining of the lungs rather than in the lungs. Pleural thickening and pleural plaques can cause shortness of breath and impair lung function. Although its symptoms may be treated, asbestos pleural disease is permanent and progressive with no cure. Even after exposure to asbestos has ceased, scarring continues due to the body’s interaction with retained asbestos fibres.

Pleural scarring, which is often seen in conjunction with asbestosis, can be detected on chest x–rays and CT scans and usually reflects a significant history of exposure to asbestos. It normally takes at least 10 years after the first exposure to asbestos for asbestos pleural disease to develop.

How can AMAA help you

For more information on the symptoms, treatments and management of Asbestos Plural Disease, please contact the Asbestosis & Mesothelioma Association of Australia (AMAA) on 1800 017 758 or via our contact us form today.