Here is the short version in unsophisticated and unscientific terms: pleural thickening is the result of pleural plaques.
It strongly depends on the level of asbestos exposure what kind of lung disease a person may develop. Frequent and intense contact, stretched over a long period of time usually results in asbestosis, a non cancerous form of an asbestos induced disease.
But if a person's exposure is rather intermittent and less intense, he is more likely to develop mesothelioma, lung cancer or pleural plaques.
Pleural plaques, though, is not an illness but it is definitely indicative of exposure to asbestos. As a matter of fact, more often than not, it is the only indication of asbestos exposure. It is important to understand the connection between pleural plaques and asbestosis or mesothelioma; if pleural plaques are found in a patient, it does not necessarily mean that he has either one of the aforementioned health conditions. But the opposite constellation is not true. In almost all of the cases, a newly diagnosed asbestosis or mesothelioma patient will have developed pleural plaques.
Pleural plaques consist of a white, fibrous and flexible substance and occur in the form of little nodules. They typically develop in the pleura, also called the outer lining, which is a thin layer surrounding the lungs and other organs in the abdomen. Causes the pleura That Are to the expand and this occurrence is Called pleural thickening . The nodules have the tendency to calcify which increases their visibility on x-rays of the chest. They can vary in size and shape. Pleural plaques are benign and do not directly cause any symptoms in a patient, other than a slightly impaired lung function.
Typically, the only treatment is to monitor a patient's situation very closely to see if the pleural plaques develop any further. In very few cases it might be a considerable option to perform a surgery with the goal to remove as much of the fibrotic tissue as possible. However, more recent studies suggest that this form of pleural plaques treatment does not improve the overall situation and is therefore not worth taking the risk that is associated with this rather invasive approach.
I can not emphasize enough the importance of consulting your doctor and having regular check ups scheduled. If you are concerned that you might have been exposed to asbestos or if you encounter any unusual symptoms, do not waste any time but go and see a health care professional. And I am not just saying that causally, as a matter of fact I like to wrap up this article by demonstrating you the necessity of reacting immediately in such a situation.
A few months back ago, I pass blood in my urine, but did not experience any kind of pain at all. I went to see an Urologist right away. Long story short: I was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma, the cancer of the kidney. My left kidney was removed via a laparoscopic radical nephrectomy and fortunately, the cancer was entirely confined to the organ and had not yet spread any further. However, the results could have been vastly different if I had waited any longer.