The lungs are protected by two layers of covering called the pleura. It separates the lungs from the chest wall and other organs in the body. If this tissue becomes swollen or inflamed, the condition is called pleurisy. Pleurisy symptoms are painful, and can come in varying degrees of severity. Pleurisy is result by an infection in the lower respiratory tract that is caused by a virus or bacteria such as the one that causes tuberculosis. The condition can last for a few days on some, and can run for 2 weeks on others. Pneumothorax, or a condition where the air is leaking into the pleural cavity because of a puncture in a lung can also cause pleurisy. A tumor located at the pleura can also cause pleurisy, as well as other conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and pulmonary embolism. It can also be caused by a complication from heart surgery.
Pleurisy symptoms can include the following:
– The most common of symptom of pleurisy is chest pain. The pain is described as a sharp, stabbing pain, but can also be perceived as a dull ache. The pain is worse when you take in a deep breath, move around, or cough. Others are forced to breathe rapid, shallow breaths just to help them ease the pain. Pressure also relieves the pain, which is observed when lying down on the side that is painful.
– Pleurisy can also be accompanied with a cough, depending on the cause of the condition. You may have dry or productive cough that has sputum or blood.
– Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing can be felt when you have pleurisy. This can be due to the pain, but also because of the underlying cause of the condition. The lungs may have a blood clot, or it may be filled with too much phlegm as with pneumonia.
– Fever may be present if the pleurisy is caused by an infection.
Chest pain is the most common reason of all pleurisy symptoms why people seek medical attention. It is also important to seek professional advice if you have high fever, chills, and have productive cough of green or yellow sputum. Heart disease, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, or emphysema will make the condition worse, making it more important for you to visit a doctor for pleurisy management.