The pleura, or pleural lining is a membrane that covers both the inner chest wall and the surface of the lungs; the narrow space between these layers is known as the pleural cavity. They are part of what is called in medical terms the mesothelium, which consists of all similar membranes that cover and provide protection and lubrication for most of the bodily organs.
Any infections or adverse conditions that affect this space or the membranes – whether bacterial, viral or cancerous – are called pleural diseases. As with all diseases, there are associated risk factors that can affect one’s chances of being affected.
Also at risk are family members of these workers. The reason is that asbestos fibers were frequently lodged in the hair and clothing of these workers, and were subsequently carried into the home.
Beyond asbestos mining and manufacture, almost anyone who has worked in industrial manufacturing and/or production, as well as construction sites and building and/or demolition has almost certainly been exposed to asbestos to some degree. In general, if there was fireproofing or danger from extreme heat was a factor in any way, there was asbestos somewhere.
Other Risk Factors
There are genetic and pathogenetic factors as well as elements of a person’s health history that and make one more predisposed to pleural disease. One of these is the existence of pleural plaques.
Pleural plaques are areas of the inner rib cage and the diaphragm that have become fibrous and calcified – in other words, the tissue becomes stiff and inflexible. This is usually caused by genetic factors, but can be attributed to environmental factors, such as asbestos exposure.
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