The lungs are an essential part of the body that must be maintained in a healthy state at all times. Unfortunately, certain cases arise that inhibit the healthy function of the lungs and the environment around them. The pleura is a thin membrane that surrounds the lungs. Its main purposes are to protect and cushion the lungs from surrounding areas of the body and harmful substances that could damage its function. Like most protective coverings within the body, the pleura is made up of two layers and fluid that make up the space between the two parts. The two layers (one that is directly on the lungs and the other that covers the lungs) are often times pulled away from one another to allow for movement and non-friction between the lungs and the surrounding environment. The lungs that inhibit a person's body have an elastic tendency and the layers assist this elasticity with the breathing process. The fluid that is located in between the two layers is there as a lubricating device for the pleural surface and allows the lungs to move freely.
There are certain instances where the pleura can be effected and harm a person's health. One of the most dangerous forms of pleura disease is mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a rare but serious disease that effects the lining of the lungs. Pleural is one of the most prominent forms of mesothelioma. One develops this type of disease through inhalation of asbestos fibers in the home or at a workplace. Many cases of exposure happened before the later 1970s and more cases of pleural mesothelioma are occurring each day. Pleural mesothelioma occurs because the asbestos fibers become lodged in the crevices of the lung cavity causing scar tissue that eventually turns into cancerous cells. These cells are dormant for many years and do not cause side effects for many years after contact. Unfortunately, this leaves smaller chances for cases of pleural mesothelioma to be in early stages of the disease. Doctors are finding it harder to treat and eliminate pleura mesothelioma because of its severity and resistance to drug medication and therapy.
Last modified: December 28, 2010.