We speak a lot about malignant diseases that are caused by asbestos exposure on our website, but what about other conditions that affect the lives of victims? There are many illnesses associated with asbestos exposure that are often mistaken for other respiratory conditions. Many affect the pleural cavity, or the space between the two pleurae of the lungs.
Pleural plaque is the most common condition that results from asbestos exposure. After exposure, areas of the parietal pleura can thicken and eventually calcify. It is often more than thirty years before the illness is diagnosed, mostly because there are little to no symptoms associated with the condition. It is estimated that 58% of asbestos-exposed workers are affected by pleural plaque.
Diffuse Pleural Thickening
Diffuse pleural thickening develops over many years or decades after initial asbestos exposure. The visceral pleura, or the membrane covering the surface of the lungs, thickens and seriously restricts lung and diffuse capacity for exposure victims. Diffuse pleural thickening diagnoses are rare compared to the development of pleural plaque within exposure victims.
Benign Asbestos Pleural Effusions
A buildup of fluid between the parietal and visceral pleura can result in benign asbestos pleural effusion. Unlike other asbestos-related conditions, benign pleural effusions occur within only ten years of exposure. While benign, pleural effusions can progress to diffuse pleural thickening.
While these illnesses do not commonly result in compensation for victims, it is wise for doctors to monitor the health of patients with these conditions very closely. Non-malignant conditions such as the ones mentioned above can eventually turn into a mesothelioma or other diagnosis.