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Unveiling the Truth About Pleural Plaques Related to Asbestos

Date Added: February 01, 2013 11:17:56 AM
Author: Admin
Category: Respiratory Disorders Asbestosis-Mesothelioma

Unveiling the Truth About Pleural Plaques Related to Asbestos

A lot of things can be happening inside our body without us knowing about it. For instance, a person may discover that he has pleural plaques on her lungs after submitting to a CT scan or chest x-rays while experiencing other unrelated health issues. But other than this, the person will not know about the presence of such plaques because it is devoid of any symptom and can stay undetected for as long as 20 to 40 years.

Factors Causing Pleural Plaque Formation

Most often than not, exposure to asbestos predisposes a person to develop plaque formation. Hence, it is essential that a thorough medical history be made regarding the person’s previous employment or residence to rule out this possibility. This is because the plaque itself may not be fatal. In fact, some medical practitioners may allow it to be left untreated. However, there is a big difference if this has been caused by an asbestos exposure. Because asbestos is toxic, there is a possibility that pleural plaque caused by it may eventually develop into a lung cancer otherwise called as “mesothelioma”. This is a form of chronic lung illness that develops over time. And one of its symptoms is pleural plaque or in some other forms of lung problems. For this reason, if a patient is found to have pleural plaque, doctors will usually advise the person for a regular check up to monitor its progress and to know if it is linked to asbestos exposure.

How Pleural Plaques are Formed

It may sound interesting why pleural plaques caused by asbestos are more dangerous than those caused by other factors. What is there in asbestos that makes it more harmful? This is because these particles are thin with long robust fibers. But the most hazardous types are smallest forms that cannot be detected by a naked eye. Unknowingly, you may breathe on them, building asbestos deposits on your lungs. They often dwell in the tissues of these organs. Unfortunately, the body’s own defence mechanism cannot get rid of these substances nor convert them into a less harmful form. Hence, as these harmful particles accumulate on the lung’s pleura, they will irritate its surrounding tissues. This will cause deposits of collagen fibers on areas where asbestos are found. The entire process will result into a formation of pleural plaque.

However, these plaques will progress into its worse condition over time. Calcium salts will start to build up in the affected lung tissue, making it hard. This will compromise the lung’s ability to expand as the person breathes. Hence, as the illness progresses, it makes it difficult for the person to breath especially during exertion. In fact, as the illness worsens, it makes it impossible for the individual to breathe normally even when at rest. Hence, breathing can be painful to the individual.

The sad part of having pleural plaque is the fact that it cannot be cured even with our modern medical technology. So the person has to deal with the problem for the rest of his or her life. Therefore, management of such condition will only be symptomatic, providing the patient comfort as much as possible while the individual is still alive.