Asbestos-related Pleural Effusions?

Pleural effusions may develop for a number of reasons. They are also usually accompanied by other asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

What are Asbestos-related Pleural Effusions?

The pleura – a thin membrane that covers the inside of the rib-cage and the outside of the lungs – is made up of two layers and produces a fluid to help the lungs move smoothly as we breath.

If this fluid builds up, this is known as a pleural effusion.

One of the known causes of pleural effusions are lung diseases following exposure to asbestos dust and fibres. If a person does develop a pleural effusion due to asbestos exposure, it will not develop until 10 – 50 years after the exposure to asbestos has occurred.

The symptoms for pleural effusions can include a dry cough, shortness of breath, a sharp chest pain that intensified when you cough or breathe deeply, rapid breathing and a fever.

Who is at risk of developing a pleural effusion?

Pleural effusions develop due to damage caused by the presence of another, more serious asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma.

If you are told that you have suffered from a pleural effusion, it is important to find out what has caused the build-up of fluid, as this could lead to the discovery of an asbestos-related disease.

Those at risk of developing a pleural effusion are people who have been exposed to asbestos through work or an occupational activity, such as shipbuilders, boilermakers, laggers, construction workers, carpenters and joiners.

Can you make a claim for pleural effusions?

If you have suffered from a pleural effusion, the first thing you need to do is ask your doctor what caused the build-up of fluid to occur, as you might have an underlying and undiagnosed asbestos-related disease.

If your pleural effusion has been linked to an asbestos-related disease caused by occupational exposure to asbestos dust and fibres, you may be able to make a claim for your industrial disease, as long as the disease was diagnosed within the last 3 years.

It is important to note that the 3 year limitation period for making a personal injury claim for an asbestos-related disease starts from the date you were first diagnosed with the disease, rather than when you were exposed to asbestos, which could have been as long as 50 years ago.

How do you claim for an asbestos-related disease?

If you have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease, such as mesothelioma, pleural thickening or asbestosis that has caused you to suffer from a pleural effusion, it is important to get in touch with Birchall Blackburn Law today to start your claim. Call our team on Freephone 0800 783 8485 or fill in our contact form here and we will get in touch with you.

Our experienced asbestos solicitors and industrial disease team will guide you through the civil compensation claims process, taking on all responsibility to let you and your loved ones focus on what is important.


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Asbestosis is a form of lung disease caused by breathing in asbestos dust.

Asbestosis occurs in individuals who have had high levels of prolonged asbestos exposure over many years.

The inhaled asbestos fibres permanently damage the alveoli (the air sacs which supply oxygen to the blood stream) in the lungs.

Click here for more information on asbestosis.
Lung cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK.

Asbestos-related lung cancer develops after inhaled asbestos fibres become trapped in the lungs. Over long periods of time, the fibres cause inflammation and damage to the lung tissue. After many years, often decades, the asbestos fibres cause enough irritation and cellular damage to cause the growth of tumours.

It can be difficult to attribute lung cancer to asbestos exposure, although research has found a clear association between high levels of asbestos exposure and the risk of lung cancer.

Click here for more information on asbestos-related lung cancer.
Pleural thickening refers to the thickening of the lining of the lung, called the pleura – a thin membrane that covers the inside of the rib-cage and the outside of the lungs.

The disease usually progresses slowly and, in most cases, remains stable.

Diffuse pleural thickening is when the pleura thickens to the extent that it can restrict breathing and causes breathlessness. This disease is frequently, but not exclusively, caused by exposure to asbestos dust.

Click here for more information on asbestos-related pleural thickening.
Pleural mesothelioma is an incurable cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Less commonly it can affect the lining of the abdomen (peritoneal mesothelioma) or the heart (pericardial mesothelioma).

Nearly all cases of mesothelioma are caused by exposure to asbestos dust. The disease and associated symptoms only present themselves many years after the asbestos exposure occurred.

Click here for more information on mesothelioma.
Pleural plaques are small areas of localised scarring or calcification found on the pleura – the lining of the lungs and rib-cage.

It only takes minimal exposure to asbestos dust and fibres to cause pleural plaques to develop.

In almost all cases of pleural plaques there are no symptoms and they cause no problems to long term health, which is why in England and Wales there is no compensation available for developing them. Pleural plaques simply indicate that there has been exposure to asbestos.

Click here for more information on pleural plaques.
Hand-arm vibration syndrome, also known as vibration white finger, is a common industrial injury caused by regular and extended use of vibrating tools.

Hand-arm vibration syndrome affects the joints, blood vessels and nerves around the hand and wrist. The most common symptoms are a tingling, numbness or pain in the fingers, and sometimes a loss of dexterity in the hands, making it hard to grip.

Click here for more information on hand-arm vibration.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) is a general term for soft-tissue injuries caused by repetitive activity.

It commonly develops in people whose work involves repetitive tasks, and can make daily tasks, such as driving or getting dressed, difficult.

Click here for more information on repetitive strain injury.
Irritants found in the workplace, such as chemicals, glues and dusts, have the potential to cause painful skin conditions.

There are different types of occupational skin diseases, the most common work-related skin disease is industrial dermatitis, which is caused by exposure to certain allergens.

Click here for more information on occupational skin diseases.
Occupational lung diseases, such as silicosis, occupational asthma and asbestosis, are caused by breathing in harmful substances and irritants like silica, chemical fumes and asbestos.

There are certain industries which are linked to higher percentages of workers developing respiratory and lung diseases, including the mining, construction, ship building, insulation and chemical refinement industries.

Click here for more information on occupational lung diseases.
Occupational deafness, otherwise known as noise induced hearing loss, develops while working in a loud or noisy workplace without the right protection.

The damage from the noise could take many years to become serious, but could also happen more quickly.

Age, or general fitness, are no protection – young people can be damaged just as easily as the old.

Click here for more information on occupational deafness.


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