What Is Pleurisy? What Are the Causes and Symptoms?

Thursday, 08 May 2014 01:15 AM

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Pleurisy is a condition caused due to a viral infection. This infection causes swelling of the lungs and chest linings. The double-layered membrane, with one layer lining the inside of the chest wall and the other layer covering the lungs, is known as the pleura. On experiencing the symptoms of pleurisy, patients should immediately consult the doctor. A doctor can examine the symptoms and determine the causes associated with the problem.
 
Causes of serious viral infection may have varying symptoms even apart from pleuritic pain. An X-ray of the chest may help in determining the causes of the viral infection. Blood tests can also be useful. Abnormalities may be detected through an X-ray if there are other causes of the pleuritic pain. Doctor may suggest painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications to get rid of pain caused by the viral infection. However, if the pain is severe, doctor may prescribe stronger medication or alternative treatments to treat the viral infection.     
 
 
Causes of Pleurisy
 
Infection caused by virus is among the common causes of pleurisy. Disorders of the lungs may also be among the causes for pleuritic pain. Viral infection causes inflammation, which results in pain in the chest. Other causes associated with pleurisy are relatively less common. Any condition that causes inflammation or any damage at the edges of the lungs next to pleura can result in the pain symptoms of pleurisy. Some conditions that can be causes of symptoms of pleuritic pain are listed as follows:
  • Chest injury
  • Pneumonia
  • Inflammation
  • Collapsed lung
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Immune system disorder
  • Blood clots
  • Pancreatitis
  • Fungal or parasitic infections
  • Chest or lung tumor
  • Heart surgery complications
 
Symptoms of Pleurisy
 
Among the symptoms of pleurisy, a patient may suffer from severe pain that fades with time. This pain may worsen during deep breathing, yawning, sneezing, or coughing. The pain caused due to pleurisy is sharp and stabbing, and can occur anywhere in the chest. The pain may also spread to shoulder or back. This pain may last for days but will ease as the viral infection or build up in the pleura clears.
 
Patients suffering from pleurisy are usually not severely ill. As it is a viral infection, symptoms may include cold, cough, fever, and other flu-like symptoms. Some symptoms associated with pleurisy are as follows:
  • Coughing up blood
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle ache
  • Joint pain
  • Pain developing slowly over several days
  • Severe pain that may fade in a few days
  • Breathlessness
  • Unexplained weight loss

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