Although pleurisy can be caused by common lung infections such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, asbestos exposure is very likely to result in the inflammation of the pleura as well. Inhaled fibers will remain in the lungs for an unlimited period of time, since the human body is not designed to naturally eliminate them, which may lead to inflammation and tissue scarring over the years. It is important to mention that the effects of asbestos exposure appear only within 20 to 50 years, so being regularly evaluated by a specialist is vital if you have a history of exposure.
The most common symptoms of pleurisy are:
- shortness of breath
- chest pain which intensifies when coughing and ceases when you hold your breath
- difficulty breathing
- chest tenderness
- pain in the neck, shoulders or abdomen
The carcinogenic nature of asbestos fibers can easily irritate the pleura, which will gradually cause severe inflammation. Pleural effusion, the accumulation of fluid between the two layers of the pleura, is another frequently encountered sign of asbestos-related diseases. It frequently occurs with pleurisy as a consequence of inflammation. Feeling a sharp pain in the chest when you inhale and exhale, which intensifies with coughing, taking deep breaths and sneezing, is one of the clearest indicators of pleurisy.