Pleural thickening is damage and thickening of the wall between your lung and your rib-cage.
You are normally at around a 1 – 5% risk of developing a further asbestos related disease such as mesothelioma.
It can take around 10 – 20 years from when you were first exposed to asbestos until pleural thickening is first detected on a chest x-ray.
The symptoms of diffuse pleural thickening vary considerably from person to person. When the membrane is scarred and thickened it becomes constricted and less elastic, which can cause the sufferer to have shortness of breath. Chest pain and tightness in the chest, particularly during or after exertion, are also common. In some cases the symptoms can be severe and debilitating, whereas in others the symptoms are more manageable.
There are other conditions which can mimic pleural thickening such as rib fractures and pleural bleeding, tuberculosis and pneumonia with empyema and rheumatoid disease.