Pleurisy: Common Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
When your pleura is inflamed, it means that you have pleurisy. If you are not aware of what pleura is, it is a membrane that contains a layer of tissue that is linked to the tissue covering the lungs and the inner side of your chest cavity. Also called pleuritic, pleurisy can give you sharp pains, making it hard to breathe.
Discover more about this condition by reading through this article.
If you are having a hard time understanding the definition of pleurisy, it can be understood simply like this. Each time you breathe, the various thin tissues in your chest wall and lungs rub together. When you are in a normal condition, the rubbing of your tissues will not end up generating friction.
However, in case that the tissues are infected, the rubbing of the tissues will give you pain. The tissues are also swollen and irritated as time goes by. You might be thinking that this is just a simple condition, but it is not. In fact, some people died because of this ailment.
All conditions have their own set of symptoms. This will help you determine if you have the ailment or not. Although some signs might appear on other ailments, you will know that you already have pleurisy when you feel or experience the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Pain in your shoulders
- Pain in your back
- Joint pain
- Shallow breathing
- Muscle ache
- Loss of appetite
Even if various symptoms can tell if you have pleurisy, the most common sign would be a sharp pain every time you breathe. There are times when the pain will go away, but this is only possible when you put pressure on the said area. Holding your breath can stop the pain too.
If you feel any of the abovementioned signs, immediately head to your doctor. This is because there is a possibility that you have other illnesses such as lung problems or heart problems.
The first thing that the doctor would do is to find the area that is swelling. He or she will conduct physical exams. Also, your medical history will be check. Below are the possible tests that the doctor might require you to take:
This test will need to make a small incision for the camera to enter your chest wall. The camera will directly go to the pleural space and find the irritated area. It will get a tissue sample for further research.
The objective of this test to check the cause of the condition. During this test, the doctor will make an incision once again and instead of using a camera, it will use a needle to get the tissue sample.
This will provide you with an image of your chest cavity, letting the doctor see if there is a fluid buildup.
Other tests that you can do are CT scans, thoracentesis, blood tests, and chest x-rays. You do not have to do anything once you arrive at the hospital. The doctor will be the one to decide which test to take to get credible results.
Unlike most diseases, you might be surprised that there are a lot of factors that can lead to pleurisy. Here are the possible causes that might lead to pleurisy:
- Inherited diseases
- Rib fracture
- Lung cancer
- Autoimmune disorders
- Fungal infection
- Pneumonia and other bacterial infection
- Lung diseases
- Heart surgery complications
- Chest wounds
- Sickle cell anemia
- Blunt trauma
- Immune system disorder
- Blood clots
Research shows that the main cause of pleurisy is a viral infection. Once the viruses go to your lungs, it will infect various parts of the said organ, leading to the condition.
It is important to note that the treatment of the condition will base on its case. For instance, you will be required to take antibiotics if the doctor finds out that the cause of the ailment is bacterial pneumonia. If the cause is a virus, then the good news is that it can get better on its own. Do take note that it is recommended to get treated immediately.
After that, you can take relief medications to relieve the inflammation and pain that you might be feeling. You can buy ibuprofen for the best results. Also, it would be better if you get lots of rest. Go for the position that would make you comfortable.
In the worst cases, the doctor might require you to make regular appointments. This is recommended for those who kept on experiencing chest pain. During the appointment, be sure to tell your doctor about all the symptoms. You can make a list before going to your doctor.
Bringing a friend or family member would help too for you to remember the important details that will be given by the doctor. Pleurisy is not a joke, and it could lead to death if you do not take your treatment seriously.
Remember all the important information as well. Anything that you think may lead to the condition. This will help your doctor give you the right cure for your ailment. By following the instructions of your doctor, you will get better in no time.
Pleurisy is a life-threatening condition that needs to be treated immediately. Do not be afraid to go to the doctor if you feel anything strange in your body, particularly chest pains. Though the pain might be bearable, do not be complacent, and get help as soon as possible. Do not wait for the ailment to worsen. Go to your doctor, take the required tests, get treated, and keep yourself healthy as much as possible.