Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"I am concern over CT results. Is there something to worry about?"
I'm 36 and a pack a day smoker since the age of 15. Since jan I've been continuously sick with shortness of breath. Had a ct scan done showing plural peracheymal thickening on both sides along with atelectasis. Fibrotic changes, ground glass attenuation (new) measuring in cm. The radiologist came in and told me to go see a pulmonary specialist. Went to my primary care the next day with results and he had asked if I was exposed to anything as a child. I found out that I was exposed to asbestos in elementary school. What is he seeing that he would ask that question? And is it only seen with asbestos/mesothelioma? This is driving me crazy. The pulmonary specialist made it seem like it's almost impossible for me to have anything like that. Said it's emphysema but he is going to do a biopsy anyways. Should I be worried?
I am sorry to hear about your symptoms. It sounds like you have been feeling quite ill for some time. It is difficult to provide accurate recommendations without being able to review your CT scan in person, and it is also important to perform a thorough history and physical exam. I encourage you to seek a second opinion with a pulmonologist, preferably at an academic medical center. After reviewing your records, they can make recommendations on the most appropriate next steps. Asbestos exposure can lead to certain characteristic lung findings, which most commonly consist of thickening of the pleura (outer lung lining) along the bottom surfaces of the lungs that rest along your diaphragm. The amount of exposure required differs for everyone, although you are certainly at a young age to exhibit these findings. Ground glass opacities refer to a specific finding on CT scan that can be due to a number of lung diseases. I cannot speculate as to your diagnosis without seeing the CT scan, and I recommend you again see a pulmonologist. You are at risk for emphysema due to your smoking, and I strongly encourage you to quit smoking entirely. The lung findings could also be due to a form of interstitial lung disease. Again, you will need to see a pulmonologist to determine the cause.