All You Should Know about Pleural Effusion

Known also as fluid in the chest, pleural fluid or fluid on the lung, a pleural effusion is fluid building up on the pleural space. This is an area between tissue layers which line the chest cavity and lungs. It could also be referred to as pulmonary effusion or just effusion. The kind of fluid which forms a pleural effusion could be categorized as either transudate or exudate. Usually, the more serious and difficult to treat are exudative pleural effusion.

Causes of Pleural Effusion

Your body makes pleural fluid to lubricate the surfaces of the pleura in small amounts. This is a thin tissue which lines the chest cavity and surrounds the lungs. An excessive and abnormal buildup of the fluid is pleural effusion.

The two types and their causes are:

Symptoms of Pleural Effusion

Many times, no symptoms are seen. More than likely, symptoms will appear when a pleural effusion is moderately or largely sized, or if inflammation is there. Symptoms can include:

Other symptoms include hiccups, malaise, rapid breathing, etc.

Complications could include:

Diagnosis of Pleural Effusions

Your doctor may diagnose after a physical examination and your symptoms. They could use auscultation, which is listening with a stethoscope, percussion or tapping on your chest, plus other methods when this condition is suspected.

Most of the time, pleural effusions are found on imaging tests. The usual tests that will identify pleural effusions are:

Treatments for Pleural Effusion

The end goal of treatment is to:

Taking out the fluid, or thoracentesis, could be done if there is a lot of fluid and it is leading to pressure in the chest, shortness of breath or other breathing problems like low oxygen. Taking out the fluid lets the lung expand, therefore making it easier to breathe.

The cause for the fluid buildup has to be treated as well.If congestive heart failure is the reason, you could receive diuretics, or water pills, plus other medications for heart failure.

When infection is the cause, pleural effusion antibiotics are used for treatment.For people with infection or cancer, the effusion many times will be treated with a chest tube so the fluid can drain for several days.

Small tubes can sometimes be left in the pleural cavity for a longer time to drain fluids. Sometimes, the following could be done:

In a lot of cases, however, unless treatment can be given for the underlying cause, an effusion will probably return in a few weeks. When symptoms become troublesome, repeated draining of the fluid is an option.

What You Should Know About Asbestos and Its Harms

A group of minerals with thin microscopic fibers is known as asbestos. Since these fibers are resistant to fire and heat, and chemicals and they don’t conduct electricity, asbestos has beenwidely used in the automotive, construction and other industries.

When products containing asbestos are disturbed, the tiny fibers are put out into the air. They can become trapped in the lung for many years when they are breathed in. over time, these fibers can add up and lead to serious health problems, which include:

Studies have suggested that an association exists between asbestos exposure and other cancers, which includes gastrointestinal tract cancers, kidney, throat, brain, voice box, bladder, and gallbladder.

Causes and Risks of Asbestos Exposure

Exposure to asbestos can happen in the home, workplace or community. It was used in many products, being commercial mined since the 1800s. Things such as car clutch pads and brake shoes, building materials like floor and ceiling tiles, coatings, paints and adhesives, plastics and garden products with vermiculite may all contain Asbestos. Because of health concerns and federal regulations however, asbestos is much less widely used than even a few decades ago.

Most cases of asbestos poisoning happen in workers dealing with asbestos. Some family members of these workers who were heavily exposed have a higher risk however due to the fibers being brought home on skin, clothing and hair. Mesothelioma cases have been seen in people living close to the mines as well. 

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