The word pleurisy comes from pleurae. Pleurae are moist, thin membranes that cover the lungs as well as line the chest cavity. Pleurisy is therefore referred to as a condition wherein the affected person’s breathing is severely restricted and also painful.
Types of Pleurisy: The pleura that swathes each lung is made up of two close-fitting layers, and what lies between them is a lubricating fluid. If pleurisy does not alter the fluid content, then this type of disease is known as dry pleurisy. If the fluid content increases a lot, then the condition is known as wet pleurisy.
It is even known as pleurisy with effusion. If the extra fluid of wet pleurisy gets infected and pus is formed, then the condition is known as purulent pleurisy.
Causes of Pleurisy: Pleurisy often is a result of complications that happen due to respiratory tract infections like tuberculosis, viral infections and pneumonia. Pleurisy can also be caused from an injury or tumor. Sometimes, this disease takes shape as a result of some gastrointestinal tract diseases, especially of the pancreas and the liver. These diseases could also result in the inflammation of the diaphragm. Diseases like tuberculosis or pneumonia, influenza and lung abscesses are also known to cause the disease. Keeping these aside, it could result even if the person has had no earlier problem.
Symptoms of Pleurisy: One of the major symptoms of chronic pleurisy is a stabbing, sharp pain in the lower and the side of the chest. A patient might also feel the pain along the abdomen, neck and shoulders. Any movement related to the chest, such as coughing or breathing or even laughing will worsen the pain. Thus the disease could bring a halt to lot of your daily activities. The pain could also be accompanied by fever, a dry cough and shortness of breath. Wet pleurisy has similar symptoms, but the person may also have difficulty in breathing.
Treatment for Pleurisy: The physician would first proceed to treat the underlying disease or infection with antibiotics.
Doctors often ask patients to get more rest as this can also relieve some of the symptoms of pleurisy. Sometimes, the chest is strapped firmly with an elastic adhesive bandage. But a bandage can prevent a person from breathing deeply and coughing up mucus, which is important to clear up the mucus. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory medicines may also be administered to patients who have pleurisy.
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