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My 81 yr old mother recently had a x-ray of her lungs and it revealed a thickening of the pleural lining of the lungs. She recently had an episode of UTI and has been very weak. She took a week of sulfa but then developed coughing and congestion. She has not had any blood in this congestion but is having some trouble breathing and that is why she was sent for an x-ray. She is scheduled for a CT scan. Her doctor did not see any tumors in the x-ray but did not to investigate the thickening pleura further. She has not been exposed directly to asbestos. What are some of the causes of her problem?
It's unfortunate to hear about your mom, I wish her all the best in getting her health back to 100% fit. Here is a comprehensive look on why a person may develop pleural thickening as seen on your mother's x-ray, hope this list helps.
Pleural thickening usually occurs due to inflammation of the lungs as well as exposure to asbestos particles and fibers. Most people who incur pleural thickening develop some kind of asbestos related disease example malignant mesothelioma, malignant pleural cancer, etc. Whether a person with pleural thickening will develop asbestos related diseases is unpredictable and no medical doctor can diagnose this before hand, although symptoms may indicate such development of malignant tumors and treatment options can be applied in the early stages of cancer. Here are some more reasons:
- Bruise in the lungs or lung contusions that damage the capillaries and allow blood to flow in to surrounding tissues forcing them to become distressed or enlarged and accumulate blood under the layers of skin.
- Rheumatoid lung disease is a group of complications relating to rheumatoid arthritis which often houses fluid in the chest or ascites (pleural effusions), scarring of the lungs (pulmonary fibrosis) or high blood pressure in the lungs as well as formation of lumps or nodules in the lungs.
- Pulmonary embolism or the blockage of the main arteries of the lungs by a substance that has travelled through the blood stream (process of embolism). The main artery of the lungs can become blocked by deep veins or blood clots in the lungs or due to air/fat fluids.
- Tuberculosis which is an infectious disease caused by myco-bacteria that usually attack the lungs and tissues in the lungs but can also affect the central nervous system.
- Pleural effusions which is an abnormal build up of fluids in the pleural space that results from disruption of the equilibrium that exists across pleural membranes.
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