Pleural Plaque

The areas of calcification on the lining of the chest wall, lungs, and diaphragm are called pleural plaques. They can be recognized as white-gray areas, and in some cases, they are also found on the lining of the ribcage in chest x-rays. As the pleura, which are the membranes surrounding the lungs, are more sensitive to asbestos, pleural plaques can develop even with very low levels of asbestos exposure.



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Discover the Causes

Any exposure to asbestos irrespective of its level and duration can cause changes in the lining of the lungs and the pleura. These abnormalities include pleural plaques, pleural calcification, pleural thickening, and pleural mesothelioma.

Pleural plaques form when the inhaled asbestos fibers work their way into the outer lining of the lungs. Once they are imbedded in the pleura, these microscopic asbestos fibers cause scarring and inflammation, leading to the development of pleural plaques.

According to the National Cancer Institute, there has been an increase in the incidence of asbestos-related diseases in the United States. This can be explained by the fact that the use of Asbestos was at its peak in years 1940–1970. As the latency period for this condition is around 20 to 40 years, this condition can take quite long to be diagnosed. The industrial and commercial use of asbestos corresponded with the number of people being exposed to the substance in those years.

Symptoms of Pleural Plaques

If exposure to asbestos continues, pleural plaques can grow in size and lead to reduced lung capacity. They are usually discovered when patients suffering from symptoms such as impaired lung function, shortness of breath or tightness in chest, undergo tests such as chest x-rays and CT scans. The presence of pleural plaques has a negative psychological effect on patients once they are discovered. Though not being fatal themselves, their detection raises the likelihood of other fatal pleural abnormalities such as the pleural mesothelioma, in which there is a sudden onset of pleural effusion, dyspnea, pleural thickening and chest pain.

Know Someone with a Pleural Plaque?

Having a pleural plaque in lung are amongst the earliest signs of asbestos exposure, which has been associated with serious lung diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma, a form of cancer. Pleural plaques can even be asymptomatic, meaning that they show no signs or symptoms of being present themselves. So if you have been diagnosed with pleural plaque, it means that you have been exposed to asbestos at some point in your past. This knowledge is in itself alarming as many people are unaware that they have been exposed to asbestos in their past. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, any exposure to asbestos increases the risk of developing malignant forms of cancer.In order to prevent future complications, the growth of these plaques should be closely monitored by your physician.

Obtaining Compensation for Your Suffering

If pleural plaques start affecting your ability to lead a normal life, you have the option to explore your legal rights. As most people suffering from this condition were occupationally exposed to asbestos because of the negligence of their employers, they may have grounds for filing a lawsuit against them as well as the manufacturers. Through this lawsuit, they can claim compensation for the expenses sustained as well as closure for the emotional trauma borne as well.

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FAQs

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Q:How are asbestos pleural plaques related to mesothelioma?

A:According to research studies, asbestos pleural plaques have been linked to mesothelioma. Although asbestos pleural plaques are not cancerous themselves, these can increase the risk of a person developing mesothelioma. Pleural plaques are usually identified through x-ray, and are becoming increasingly common nowadays. They are usually benign and are not a source of sever threat.

Q:How do I find out if I have developed asbestosis pleural plaques? I want to hold someone accountable for possibly giving me cancer.

A:Asbestosis pleural plaques are whitish patches of hardened skin that appear on the pleural surface that lines the outsides of the lungs, just beneath the rib cage. They are usually composed of calcium deposits and are caused by exposure to asbestos fibers. They typically don't have any symptoms and take anywhere from 20 to 40 years to lead towards cancer and so are only detected in chest x-rays.

Q:Are all bilateral pleural plaques detectable via X-ray?

A:It is not necessary that all bilateral pleural plaques can be detected through an x-ray. In order for the bilateral pleural plaque to be detectable, it must achieve a density of at least 8%-40%. Most cases of bilateral pleural plaques are linked to the exposure of asbestos. Treatment for this condition will depend upon the severity of the case.

Q:What forms Calcified Pleural Plaque?

A:Calcified Pleural Plaque is usually formed by asbestos fibers. Once these fibers are inhaled, they travel through the blood system and accumulate on the outer surface of the lung. This leads to scarring and inflammation of the tissue that causes pleural plaques. Majority cases of Calcified Pleural Plaque are caused by asbestos.

Q:What are calcified pleural plaques and what do they have to do with asbestos exposure?

A:Calcified pleural plaques are simply raised white lesions on the underside of the rib cage, on the surface of the diaphragm or located in the pleural space on the outside of the lungs. The accumulation of calcium deposits in the form of these hardened tissue based structures is triggered by exposure to asbestos fibers and though do not pose as becoming malignant, yet are red flags for developing mesothelioma and are usually detected during chest X-rays.

Q:What is the most common cause of pleural plaque?

A:Pleural plaque is rarely caused by something other than exposure to asbestos. Some researchers have proposed that inhaling erionite fibers can also lead to pleural plaque formation. According to study results, about fifty percent of the people who are exposed to asbestos for longer time periods end up developing this disease.

Q:What exactly are pleural plaques?

A:Usually found on the diaphragm's inner side, pleural plaques are scars that form due to collagen fiber accumulation. Pleural plaques can even be found around the ribcage. They are the most frequent sign that becomes apparent after prolonged inhalation of minerals known as asbestos. Asbestos were widely used in the past as an ingredient in insulation materials. Even though pleural plaques are usually malignant, they signify that the patient has been previously exposed to asbestos.

Q:Do all pleural plaques asbestos lead towards mesothelioma?

A:According to statistics, almost 80% of all pleural plaques are benign, meaning that they are not cancerous, at least at the time of detection. This is usually true in the case when they are smaller than 1 inch in diameter and stay within these parameters. However, if these calcified pleural plaques have been caused by asbestos, they usually exceed these dimensions and thus have to be treated as soon as possible.

Q:Are the pleural plaques causes only asbestos?

A:Asbestos is not the only cause of a pleural plaque but in the majority of cases it is the most common cause. This is because asbestos fibers find their way into the lungs where they start to damage the lining of the lungs and excess fluid occurs. Other causes include pneumonia or other infections

Q:I need to know the pleural plaques definition urgently as I have to decide what to do about the anomalies that have shown up in my latest chest x-ray. If they turn out to be so, does that mean I have cancer?

A:Plural plaques are typically a scarring of the pleural tissue that covers the outside of the lungs and protects it from excessive rubbing and abrasion against the inside of the rib cage. When such scarring becomes calcified and forms small lesions, it is characterized as pleural plagues, which by definition are not necessarily cancerous. They have to be typically more than 20 mm across and even then further tests are required such as a CAT scan to be sure.

Q:What causes pleural plaquing? Does this have something to do with asbestos?

A:Firstly, the correct operative term is pleural plaques that are small calcified lesions that form on the pleural region of the lungs. This either lies on the outside of the lungs, right beneath the ribs or around the diaphragm. The onset of pleural plaques is triggered by the inhalation of asbestos fibers that get lodged on the pleural region and lead to calcification of the external lung tissue.

Q:Is pleural plaque in lung a sign of cancer?

A:It is not necessary that pleural plaque in lungs will develop cancer, but medical evidence indicates that if there are pleural plaques in patients, they are much more likely to develop the disease of mesothelioma. Anyone who has been exposed to is very likely to develop pleural plaques, even in case of limited exposure.

Q:What will be the best way to file a lawsuit if someone is experiencing symptoms of pleural plaques?

A:If you or your loved one has developed symptoms of pleural plaque due to asbestos exposure, you can file a lawsuit against your employer or manufacturer. The best way to file a lawsuit is to find a lawyer who has experience in dealing with asbestos cases. An asbestos lawyer will assess your case and will also determine the amount of compensation you can receive.

Q:Are pleural plaques a marker for more than asbestos exposure?

A:The major cause of having pleural plaques is due to asbestos exposure. There may be other reasons but the disease is mainly caused by asbestos fibers in the air. Pleural plaques may not be cancerous but it is important to have regular check up of the disease, as research shows that they increase the likelihood of cancer in body.