What Is Pleurisy Disease? Possible Causes And Common Symptoms

The medical condition of pleurisy is generally associated with the chest pain. It is also known by the name pleuritis. It is the swelling of the thin tissue layers (pleura) that cover the lungs and the chest wall. The chest wall is lined by outer layer of the pleura and the inner layer of the pleura covers the lungs. These two layers slide over each other with the help of the lubricating fluid in between the layers while breathing.

The gap between two layers where the lubricating fluid is stored for easy breathing is known as pleural cavity.

When the pleura layers get swollen up, the gap between the two layers closes, and layers rub on each other while breathing, which gives rise to pain while breathing.

Common Symptoms Of Pleurisy

The most primal symptoms of pleurisy are breathing difficulties and chest pain. The chest pain is generally felt suddenly and gets intense with the breathing process.

Characteristics of the chest pain include the following:

  • The chest pain associated with pleurisy generally rises at one side of the chest.
  • The pain may be subconsciously always present but gets intensified with breathing process.
  • Sudden chest movements like coughing or sneezing aggravate the chest pain.
  • Holding the breath eases the pain.
  • The chest pain can extend till shoulder or back.

Apart from chest pain, the other symptoms are-

  • Speedy pulse rate
  • Fever and cold
  • Dry cough
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Throat pain or sore throat with joint pain and inflammation.
  • Ventricular tachycardia which implies pulse rate of more than 100 in a minute with at least three irregular heartbeats in a row.

Possible Causes Of Pleurisy Disease

The most common cause of pleurisy is viral infections. Viral infections that are responsible mainly include influenza, CMV, para-influenza etc.

The other causes responsible include:

  • Infections like pneumonia and tuberculosis.
  • Any injuries or direct blow to the chest.
  • Aortic dissections: A medical emergency in which the big blood vessel connecting to the heart tears off. The condition of aortic dissection is of severe nature and can lead to death.
  • Heart surgeries especially open heart bypass surgeries.
  • Fungal infections
  • Cancer of lungs
  • Cardiac problems
  • Diseases related to swelling of bowels.
  • Diseases related to lungs.
  • Pneumothorax: A condition in which pleural cavity gets filled with air or gas which can lead to lung failure.
  • Blood clots entering the lung.

Treatment For Pleurisy

It is a must to get in touch with the doctor once suspicion of pleurisy arises. Once the patient is diagnosed, doctor is likely to prescribe antibiotics and anti inflammatory medicines. Doctor also may suggest a cough syrup to take care of the cough.

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