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Pleurisy is a health problem in which there is inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest.
The disease is manifested by a disorder of smooth breathing, and there is severe pain in the chest, called pleuritic pain. This condition can last for a few days to a few weeks, but this period depends on the cause of the inflammation.
Pleurisy very is often mild health problem that persists, without any particular treatment, but there are situations where it can cause serious complications.
The causes of pleurisy
Pleurisy is a complication of many medical conditions but usually follows on viral infection of the lungs, which is transferred to the pleural cavity. Other causes of pleurisy include:
- bacterial infections, such as pneumonia and tuberculosis,
- chest wound as a result of which has been damaged pleural cavity,
- pleural tumors,
- autoimmune diseases like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis,
- sickle cell disease,
- inflammation of the pancreas,
- pulmonary embolism,
- complications associated with heart surgery,
- lung cancer or lymphoma,
- fungal diseases or parasitic infections,
- inflammatory bowel disease,
- Mediterranean fever.
Infection can occur as a result of transmission of infection from another person, but this is extremely rare.
The risk factors for the emergence of pleurisy can include advanced age (over 65 years), poor immunity, chest injuries and surgical procedures on the heart.
Closely related to the advent of pleurisy is also smoking, but the habit as the primary cause of the disease is the relatively rare situation. Most often people with pleurisy who smoke may suffer from a severance cough and feel more severe pain.
The main symptom of pleurisy is a sharp, stabbing pain in the chest, which can also be directed toward the shoulders and back. The pain often occurs only on one side of the chest.
A person suffering from illness can sneeze, have a cough, rapid and shallow breathing, caused by pain associated with deep breathing. Sometimes appears also the tachycardia (fast heart rate).
Patients often complain of feeling also the dullness. If pleurisy is caused by a viral infection, it may also appear the fever, chills, headache, joint and muscle pain. Often there are also difficulties in breathing and sore throat.
Diagnosis and treatment of pleurisy
The diagnosis of the disease is made by excluding other potential sources of symptoms. The patient may have in fact, the rib injury or infection, which is not aware. Most often performed is a simple physical examination with a stethoscope.
In diagnosing, it is also helpful a chest X-ray and a blood test to assess the autoimmune disorders. Pleurisy diagnosed is also through research such as:
- computed tomography,
- gas analysis – assessment of lung capacity.
Treatment of lung inflammation is adjusted to the causes of a disease, such as viral or other infections. Antibiotics are used in bacterial infections. In some cases, it is necessary to filtering of liquid from the pleural cavity through a special tube.
Pain associated with pleurisy are alleviated with analgesic agents, such as aspirin, ibuprofen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases are needed painkillers or prescription cough medicines based on codeine.
If there is a risk of pulmonary embolism by blocking a blood vessel, which runs from the heart to the lungs, it is necessary to use blood thinning medicines to help prevent complications. Helpful in similar cases is also drainage the clot.
The disease is treated according to the severity of the condition. More severe cases of pleurisy involve a serious complications like:
- pleural effusion – accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity, which can cause abrasion of the pleural membranes, causing pain, and additionally, may contribute to the formation of abscess and difficulties in breathing,
- pneumothorax – collapse the lungs or accumulation of air or gas in the pleural cavity – manifested by a sudden pain and breathlessness,
- hemothorax – blood accumulating in the pleural cavity, can cause difficulties in the transport of blood to the organs.