Pleural plaques are the most common asbestos related condition. Plaques are small areas of thickening of the pleura (lining of the lung).
Pleural plaques are benign, which means they are not cancerous. They are usually asymptomatic so, if you do have them, it is unlikely that you will experience any symptoms. It is also unlikely that the plaques will cause any future health problems.
It is not possible to claim compensation for pleural plaques. They are however evidence of significant previous exposure to asbestos. There is therefore a risk that the sufferer could develop other asbestos related conditions as a result of their past asbestos exposure.
Pleural thickening is a lung disease that occurs due to extensive scarring which causes the lining of the lung to thicken. The thickened lining restricts the lungs’ ability to expand resulting in shortness of breath.
Pleural thickening can also be caused by medical conditions such as, infection, rheumatoid lung disease, tuberculosis or bacterial pneumonia.
It can take 20 years or more from initial asbestos exposure for the symptoms to develop.
Typical symptoms of pleural thickening include:
- Tight chest
- Persistent cough
- Chest pain
Pleural thickening does not carry any risks, however as with pleural plaques it indicates that the sufferer has had previous significant exposure to asbestos. There is therefore a risk that the sufferer could develop more a serious asbestos related condition due to their past exposure. Unlike pleural plaques it is possible to claim compensation for pleural thickening.
If you have been exposed to asbestos in the past and are experiencing any of the above symptoms you should see your GP as soon as possible, who will refer you to your local hospital for further tests.
If you have been diagnosed with pleural thickening due to past asbestos exposure you may be entitled to compensation, even if the company you worked for has closed down.
You may also be entitled to other financial assistance or benefits such as Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.