Know all about Pleurisy or Pleuritis

What is pleurisy?

The pleura is the sheer membrane that lines the outside of the lungs and the inside of the chest cavity. Generally, Pleurisy is an inflammation (swelling or irritation) of these two layers of tissue. For the most part, if you have recently had some kind of infection and then you find yourself with chest pain and shortness of breath, you might have pleurisy. You might also have a fever and cough. See your doctor.

Alt text=Pleurisy
Pleurisy inflammation

The pleural area is a thin area within the chest lining and the membrane that lines the lungs. The fluid lubricates the layers of the pleura so they slide smoothly near each other when you breathe. When the membranes become inflamed, they rub painfully against each other alternately.

Pleuritis can cause severe or piercing chest pain and shortness of breath. It is also known as pleuritis.

What affects this disease?

Pleurisy can affect people with some underlying medical conditions, such as infections or autoimmune diseases. Pleuritis happens in people of all ages, but it develops most often in people over age 65. As a result of these people are more likely to acquire chest infections.

People of Mediterranean origin have a greater risk for pleuritis due to a genetic disease called familial Mediterranean fever. Among familial Mediterranean fever, a genetic mutation (change) causes swelling in the chest and abdomen.

What causes Pleuritis?

Physicians do not always know what causes pleuritis. Infections usually cause the disease. Certain infections can be viral (caused by a virus), such as influenza,  or bacterial (caused by bacteria), such as pneumonia. While infections can cause pleurisy, pleurisy itself is not contagious.

Other conditions that can cause pleurisy include:

  • Asbestosis (a lung disease caused by the inhalation of asbestos).
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • A blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism).
  • Chest surgery or trauma.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Resistance to medicines including hydralazine (treats high blood pressure), isoniazid (treats tuberculosis), and procainamide (treats abnormal heart rhythms).
  • Tumours caused by cancers of the respiratory system such as lung cancer.  

What are the symptoms?

Generally, most people with pleurisy experience sharp or stabbing chest pain, also known as pleuritic pain. This pain often worsens when you cough or breathe in deeply. Also, the pain can spread to the shoulder or back.

Pleuritic pain can also be a sign of emergency medical conditions such as a heart attack or pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung). If you feel sharp chest pain, it is important to seek quick medical observation to rule out these life-threatening circumstances.

Other signs and symptoms of pleurisy can include:

  • Cough
  • Tiredness(extreme tiredness)
  • Fever
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unknown to weight loss

Can you get back this disease once more after recovering?

Yes, you do not become immune to pleurisy by having it and improving it once. Also, some of the conditions that can cause pleurisy are chronic for a long time, so you may proceed to be receptive to inflammation of the pleura.

Diagnosis and Tests

How this disease is diagnosed?

Experts check the medical history and several tests to evaluate for pleurisy. These tests include:

  • Biopsy: In some cases, a doctor will take a small sample of lung tissue to decide whether cancer or tuberculosis is present.
  • Blood test: Doctors use blood tests to look for signs of infection or autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): This test uses small electrodes set on the chest to estimate the heart’s electrical activity. It helps doctors rule out problems or errors of the heart.
  • Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans and ultrasounds allow your doctor to see abnormalities in the pleural space, including air, gas or a blood clot.
  • Physical exam: Hearing to your lungs with a stethoscope allows your doctor to hear a rubbing sound in your lungs that may be a sign of pleurisy.
  • Fluid extraction (thoracentesis): A doctor inserts a small needle into the pleural location and removes fluid to look for signs of infection or other conditions of pleurisy.

Management and Treatment

What are the treatments?

Above all, pleurisy treatment depends on the underlying situation making it. Also in some cases, pleurisy goes away on its own without treatment.

Your treatment options might involve:

  • Draining the pleural area: Doctors remove air, blood, or liquid from the pleural place. Depending on how much of the material needs to be removed, doctors use a needle and syringe (thoracentesis) or a chest tube to suction fluid out of the area.
  • Medicine: Your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic, an antifungal or an antiparasitic to treat an infection. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can relieve the pain associated with pleurisy. Corticosteroids can reduce swelling, but they can produce many side effects. Your doctor may prescribe bronchodilators to make it easier for you to breathe.
  • Radiation treatment or chemotherapy: In some cases, doctors use cancer treatments to shorten tumours that cause pleurisy.

What are the difficulties linked with this disease?

Some people with pleurisy feel complications. They include:

  • Hemothorax: Blood creates up in the pleural space.
  • Pleural effusion: Too much fluid accumulates in the pleural space. Pleural effusion can cause difficulty in breathing.
  • Severe illness from not treating the infection or condition that caused pleurisy in the first place.

How can you prevent?

You can’t stop pleurisy, but you can reduce your risk by immediately treating situations that may create it. You should also quit smoking tobacco, using electronic cigarettes, and smoking marijuana.

Who are more prone of developing this disease?

People of the Mediterranean area have a higher risk for pleurisy due to a genetic condition called familial Mediterranean fever. People with other underlying conditions that can lead to pleurisy are also at higher risk for the disorder. These conditions include:

  • Asbestosis (lung disease caused by inhaling asbestos).
  • Autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Cancers of the respiratory system such as lung cancer, asthma, and COPD.
  • Chest surgery or trauma.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Taking certain medications, including hydralazine, isoniazid, and procainamide.

how it is diagnosis?

In this case, doctors successfully handle most cases of pleurisy. Most people get timely diagnosis and treatment for the condition causing pleurisy to recover fully. People treated with antibiotics for infection-causing pleurisy normally feel better in about a week. Very rarely, people who are not treated may have life-threatening difficulties. The risk also depends according to the situation that caused pleurisy.

When to consult a doctor for treatment?

In this case, talk to the doctor if you feel unknown severe chest pain or other types of pleurisy.

What questions should you ask your doctor?

So then, if you have pleurisy, you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Why did you catch pleurisy?
  • Should you investigate genetic testing?
  • If medicine caused pleurisy, should you stop or change my medicine?
  • Are you at higher risk for other lung conditions?
  • What can you do at home to reduce pain?
  • What signs of complications should you look out for?
  • Am I more likely to get pleurisy again after having it once?

Home Remedies

Hogweed: This herb is very helpful while being ill with pleurisy. Dry the roots of this herb and mash up till the powder. Consume it at least three times per day.

  • Celery: In addition, you can try to use this herb too as it has antispasmodic properties.
  • Milk: for the most part drink more milk while you are sick as it cures pleurisy effectively.
  • Cotton: Above all warmth relieves the pain. Use cotton as heating pads on the chest four times per day for about half an hour.
  • Water: As a result of it will really make you feel better. Drink at least five to six glasses of water every day.
  • Proper diet: In this case, your diet should be well-balanced, you need to strengthen your immune system. Food which has more proteins and vitamins, will help you to recover soon. Such as avoid cold, and fried food.

Massage: Comforting, warm massage helps a lot. Just do not forget that it can be done only 3-4 days after pain relieves, fever drops, and when the cough is not so bad.

In order not to get sick further, all the diseases, which can cause pleurisy need to be cured very carefully. Furthermore, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. In this case, try not to smoke, do not forget to rest after work, eat healthy food and spend enough time outside in the open air. As a rule of keeping yourself away from pollution will keep you healthy.