Long-term exposure to asbestos can lead to many ill-effects, and pleural effusion is a medical condition that affects the lungs. A thin membrane known as the pleura lines the lungs and facilitates breathing. Pleural effusion occurs when fluid builds under this membrane, which can lead to problems breathing and other issues.
Because pleural effusion can sometimes cause serious effects, it is important to have the right information. If you have experienced asbestos exposure and are concerned about potential health effects, this guide can enhance your understanding.
Symptoms of pleural effusion
People with pleural effusion can experience shortness of breath, pain in the chest, a dry cough that produces no sputum, and issues breathing unless standing or sitting up straight. Keep in mind that some people experience no symptoms until effects become worse, which highlights the importance of timely diagnosis.
Diagnosis and treatment
The doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your lifestyle, which can help them determine an underlying cause of symptoms. Your medical provider will also perform certain diagnostic tests to uncover hidden damage. Tests include ultrasounds, x-rays, and CT scans. In some cases, your doctor may perform a thoracentesis, which is a biopsy of the fluid surrounding the pleura.
When effects are severe, a chest tube can remove excess fluid from the pleura. Doctors can also inject medication into the area to reduce the accumulation of fluid. Surgery is another option when more conservative treatments remain unsuccessful. Surgery is also used when an infection is present, which can complicate effects even further.
If your doctor determines that asbestos exposure is the cause of symptoms, you must limit exposure immediately. Even with the proper treatment, repeated exposure to asbestos cause other bad effects to occur.