The pleural lung lining is actually two layers of elastic membrane that glide against one another over a layer of lubricating fluid. One layer lines the chest wall and the other surrounds the lungs. When a pleural membrane thickens it loses its ability to stretch and restricts the lungs’ ability to breathe effectively. While pleural thickening can be caused by a number of diseases, it, also, can result from asbestos exposure.
It may take as long as fifteen years after asbestos exposure for the irritation and inflammation caused by asbestos fibers to cause diagnosable pleural thickening. The lymph nodes within the chest may play a role if they became inflamed and fibrotic from asbestos fibers.
Because pleural thickening is also a symptom of asbestosis, a chronic restrictive lung disease resulting from fibrosis within the lung tissue, anyone who has been exposed to asbestos should have a through examination by an asbestos-savvy doctor. If pleural thickening is present, it is worthwhile to have diagnostic testing for mesothelioma and lung cancer as well.
Unfortunately, this condition cannot be cured or reversed, but with proper treatment and ceasing asbestos exposure, it can be controlled using bronchodilators and steroids.
If you have a history of asbestos exposure and a diagnosis of pleural thickening, please contact Brown | Kiely, LLP, the experienced mesothelioma lawyers in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington, D.C. for a no-cost claim evaluation.