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Q. Pleural thickening with constant chest pain is affecting my quality of life. Kindly help.

Answered by
Dr. Zubayeralam
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 03, 2020

Hello doctor,

I am a 51-year-old female. I have a pleural thickening condition from a previous TB. I suffered from pleural effusion many years back and TB positive. Since then, this pleural thickening condition developed in my left lung. I had chest pain for two years. There is no problem with the right lung. I had done a CT scan, and thickening was there and consulted a pulmonologist, and they said nothing could be done. It is not cancer. My problem now is, I have chronic chest pain, and my life has become very passive. I cannot engage in active physical activities, and this chronic chest pain is ruining my life. I want to seek your advice on how to improve the quality of my life. Will this thickening scare spread to my healthy lung? I live in a warm weather. Does the weather affect my lung?

#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

I can understand your concern. According to your statement, you have been suffering from pleural thickening with chest pain for a few years. You had a history of pleural effusion and PTB twice. And your pleural thickening may result from TB and pleural effusion as a result of consequences or complications.

Pleural thickening is the condition where the lining of the lungs, known as pleura, is thickened by scar tissue. The scar, also known as fibrosis, can restrict lung function and may develop chest pain and respiratory difficulties, and this condition is irreversible. So damage caused by pleural thickening cannot be reversed, though treatment, pulmonary rehabilitation like physiotherapy, avoiding smoking, and keeping active may slow the disease's progression and relieve symptoms.

You can take painkillers like Tramadol HCl for your chest pain and use an inhaler with a combination of long-acting bronchodilators and steroids. Keep yourself away from all types of smoke, dust, fumes, asbestos, etc.

To improve some lung function, you should undergo pulmonary physiotherapy. The report that is provided here is ultrasound, and it is normal.

Thank you doctor,

I have attached my latest CT scan. How extensive is the spread? Doctors advised me to stay active, but keeping active seems to increase the symptoms, and staying passive seems better. How is this? Does this scare spread to the other lung?

#

Hi,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

Your HRCT (high-resolution computed tomography) chest has shown that encysted left basal pleural effusion along the costophrenic angle shows thick pleura and few calcifications within. Lung parenchyma near the effusion shows mild collapse. It indicates a small portion of your lung is affected, not the whole lung. You have been suffering from pleural thickening for 28 years. If we can compare this recent HRCT report with the HRCT report of that time, we can assess the progression or spread of scar tissue or fibrosis, or lung damage within these periods (28 years).

Any exercise like simple walking can aggravate your respiratory distress, which is known as exertional dyspnea. It is common for you. But keeping active may hold your disease progression. You should keep urself active by taking medications like bronchodilators, steroids, etc. You have already passed 28 years after diagnosing pleural thickening, so you will be able to pass in the future too. You should undergo pulmonary function tests to assess the present condition of your lung.

You can apply breathing exercises like try to blow the balloons regularly. So consult with a pulmonary physiotherapist. Do not be worried at all. Anxiety, depression, tension, etc., may aggravate your respiratory distress.


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