5. Diffuse Pleural Thickening
Diffuse pleural thickening is a condition that causes lesions on the pleura, making it thicker. It occurs in five to 13.5 percent of people exposed to asbestos and can be diagnosed only a year after exposure — but diagnoses is made more commonly 15 to 30 years later. Official diagnosis is confirmed when there is a thickening of 1/4 of the pleura and it causes a decrease in patients’ lung function. Diffuse pleural thickening is usually not life-threatening, but it can be fatal in cases when the pleura is so thick that airflow becomes compromised.