Pleural Plaques

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Pleural plaques are the most common consequences of asbestos exposure. They are almost certainly only caused by asbestos exposure.

What are they and how do they occur?

Pleural Plaque CompensationThe pleura consists of two thin membranes surrounding the lungs. Following significant exposure to asbestos, over the course of many years, the microscopic fibres which have been inhaled into the lungs find their way through to the outer layer.

Once there, the asbestos fibres may cause the nature of the membrane to change. Locally, the pleura becomes thicker. After a further period of time this thicker part of the pleura, the plaque, may also begin to calcify, at which stage it will be readily visible on an x-ray of the chest.

Plaques do not usually cause any symptoms, either of pain or breathlessness. Until an x-ray is performed, usually for other reasons, a person may be completely unaware the plaques are there. In certain circumstances, numerous plaques form and cause stiffness of the chest wall making the effort of breathing harder. In a very few cases the plaques may also lead to distortion of the underlying lung tissue reducing the efficiency of the lung.

Are they an asbestos related disease?

There is thought to be a relationship between a person's total exposure to asbestos and the likelihood plaques will form. Similarly, more plaques will probably indicate a greater degree of exposure.

There is no direct link between the presence of plaques and the development of other diseases such as asbestosis, diffuse pleural thickening, lung cancer or mesothelioma. However, if plaques are present, they may point to asbestos being the cause of these other diseases.

The presence of pleural plaques does indicate a degree of exposure to asbestos which creates a risk that one or more of these more serious conditions could develop.

Speak to an asbestos claims solicitor today

For FREE, no obligation advice regarding pleural plaques, asbestos-related disease and your eligibility for making a claim, please contact the dedicated team of industrial disease solicitors at Thompsons in Scotland today.

You can fill in our online claim form by clicking on the green tab below, or call us today for FREE on 0800 0891 331.

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