This condition causes sharp pain in the chest region due to the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the lungs. It also affects the inner lining of the chest cavity and the pain will get worse when you are breathing very deeply. The pleura consists of a layer of tissues that separate the lungs from the chest region. It also consists of a liquid layer in between these layers of tissues that aids in the normal functioning of the lungs by supporting the expansion and contraction of the chest region during breathing activities. However, when this region is having inflammation, it does not support free movement of the lungs and the pleural membrane will come into contact with each other causing irritation. You can get this condition due to bacterial or viral infection in most cases. In extreme cases, this can also be due to complications of lung cancer and another serious disease.

Symptoms of Pleurisy

-  In most cases, the symptoms of this condition are clearly visible as you will experience severe pain in the chest region. This will become more when you try to breathe deeply as the chest region will not be able to expand and contract in the normal manner with this condition.

-  As the overall breathing gets reduced, it can lead to shortness of breath and this can hamper the health condition if you are already suffering from another disease. It can also affect the health of elderly people as they will not have enough energy with this condition.

-  It can also trigger excessive coughing due to this condition and this will be very painful. However, these symptoms will not be there in all the cases and it only affects few people.

-  In some cases, you may also experience symptoms of fever when you are suffering from this condition. You should carefully watch for pain in the chest region and seek emergency medical help whenever you have severe pain in this region.

-  This condition can also affect the normal functioning of the back and shoulder muscles and cause immense pain in this region.

Causes of Pleurisy

-  The major cause of this condition is the inflammation of the pleura and this causes friction between the pleural layers in the chest region. They start rubbing against each other during breathing and this causes a lot of pain in the chest cavity.

-  It can be the result of influenza which is a viral infection that affects many people. You need to be aware of such things and choose proper vaccination to avoid such infections in the future.

-  In the same manner, you can get this condition due to bacterial infection and pneumonia can easily cause this condition due to the inflammation in the chest region.

-  In rare cases, even a fungal infection can cause this condition in many patients. You will have to take suitable precautionary measures to avoid such complications in the future.

-  Many people suffering from autoimmune disorders are prone to getting this condition. Especially when you have something like rheumatoid arthritis, you are more likely to get this condition in future.

-  Some people are allergic to certain medications and this can also cause inflammation in the chest region. You should be very careful when you are taking medication and always follow the suggestions of your doctors. If you notice any side effects of certain medications, you need to discuss the issues with your doctor and get suitable treatment at the right stage to prevent this condition.

-  In extreme cases, even lung cancer that affects the pleural region can cause this condition. In this situation, you should focus on reducing the symptoms by using certain medication along with treating the underlying condition.

-  Even trauma to the chest region can lead to this condition in many cases. Most often, any fracture in the rib region will cause inflammation in this region and eventually lead to this condition.

-  In some cases, when you are suffering from sickle cell disease, the overall functioning of the lungs can reduce and eventually cause Pleurisy.

Diagnosis of Pleurisy

-  When you visit your doctor with these symptoms, they will prepare for a thorough diagnosis and this will help them determine the problem. In this regard, the physical examination of the chest region will be done and this will give the doctors some idea about the expansion and contraction of the chest muscles during breathing.

-  When any pain is seen in this area, you will be suggested to go for a chest X-ray and this will give an indication about the fluids and air gap in between the lungs. This procedure can be done from different sides to get a proper view of the chest region.

-  As this condition can also be triggered due to autoimmune diseases, you will be asked to go for a blood test and this will give them some indication about conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In this situation, the cause of the disease will be known and it becomes easy to treat the condition.

-  The CT scan of the chest region will give the doctors complete information about the affected area. In this way, it becomes easy to determine the blood clots in the lung region and the treatment can be given according to the results of these tests.

-  When the condition has caused several complications, you may be referred for an ultrasound scan as this helps to get the best images of the inner regions of the chest. In this way, you may have to take a combination of many tests to treat the condition.

-  As some of the symptoms of this condition are also common with heart diseases, you will be asked to undergo ECG test and this will provide clear insights into the cause of the condition.

-  When the doctors suspect something abnormal in the chest region, the fluids from this region will be removed and sent for testing. For this procedure, a small needle will be injected into the chest region and the fluid sample will be collected for further tests.

-  It is also well known that cancer or TB can cause this condition in many individuals and they also suffer from pain in the chest region while breathing deeply. For this reason, a biopsy test will be conducted and the sample will be collected from the affected region to be tested in the lab.

Prevention of Pleurisy

-  There is no specific way to prevent this condition as this is usually the outcome of other underlying conditions. In this way, when you are able to take suitable treatment at the earliest for bacterial infections, you can easily avoid this condition.

-  In the same manner, it makes sense to avoid smoking and excessive drinking as this can cause inflammation in the body and eventually lead to Pleurisy. Even when you have to consume them, you can limit their quantity to avoid these complications.

-  You should also be careful about pneumonia and other conditions that can trigger this condition in your body. Make sure that you get timely treatment and stay healthy by eating a nutritious diet. When your body has sufficient immunity to fight against bacterial infections, you can easily avoid such conditions in the future.

-  When you are prone to developing this condition, it makes sense to avoid exercising too much as a heavy burden on the chest region can trigger this condition. You should also take sufficient rest and lie down on the bed in just one side. This can provide some relief as pressure will be exerted on the affected region.

-  When you are able to take early treatment for the underlying health conditions, you can avoid this condition by a huge margin. Other than that, even when you are suffering from this condition, you will be able to make a complete recovery in quick time by taking suitable treatment.

Treatment for Pleurisy

-  The treatment for this condition depends on the underlying cause that is triggering this condition in your body. In cases where bacterial infection is causing the problem, you will be given an appropriate dose of antibiotics to recover from the infection. You need to remember that treating Pleurisy is not needed specifically when you are suffering from such infections. As soon as the infection is reduced, you will notice a clear reduction in symptoms and you can easily get back to normal within a few days.

-  It is clear that inflammation in the body can lead to such conditions and you will be prescribed appropriate medication to reduce the inflammation. These medications are available over the counter also and you can get them after consulting your doctor.

-  When you are dealing with this situation, it becomes important to deal with pain and suitable medication to reduce the pain will be given for a short duration. Along with that, it is also important to reduce symptoms of a cough as excessive coughing can aggravate the pain in the chest region.

-  In some cases, blood clots may be causing this condition in many individuals and removing the clots becomes very important. You need to get the clot removed completely or at least break them down into small particles to get relief from chest pain. It can also be completely removed from the body using surgical methods and this is chosen when the size of a blood clot is more or when it is affected a crucial region in the chest.

-  To provide some relief from chest pain, you can also use inhalers that will pass some medication to the affected area. Your doctor will suggest this based on the severity of the condition and also consider your overall health condition.

-  In some cases when the fluids in the chest region are more, it will be removed by way of a drain tube and this will give long-term relief from the problem. Along with all these treatments, it is also important to get adequate rest during the process. This will be possible when you lie on the side that is giving too much pain and you can get slight relief from symptoms in this manner.

Complications of Pleurisy

-  The biggest complication of this condition is that it can eventually lead to Pleural effusion and this happens when the fluid accumulation in the chest region is too high. It can easily create shortness of breath and this will become very painful as it progresses.

-  You will also develop serious pain in the chest region due to this condition and it can become increasingly difficult to breathe in a normal manner. Remember that every breath you take will expand and contract the chest region and do this many times in a minute means that you will have to bear excessive pain throughout the day.

-  Fluid buildup in the chest region can affect the normal breathing and this leads to shortness of breath. In this manner, the vital organs of the body will not get sufficient oxygen and they will not be able to function to their best ability.

Myths about Pleurisy

Myth #1: Pleurisy will not go away on its own

There is no need to treat this condition specifically when it is due to some bacterial infection. You will often notice that the symptoms reduce on their own as soon as the infection is cured.

Myth #2: Pleurisy can kill

In most cases, this does not cause any fatal consequences. However, you should be aware of the symptoms and treat the underlying condition carefully to get rid of chest pain. In this way, you can make a complete recovery in quick time without any hassles.


This condition can be easily treated with medication when you notice the symptoms in the early stages. However, it becomes important to first treat the underlying condition as this will give complete relief from the problem. Apart from that, you should also make it a point to take appropriate rest during this phase as overexerting yourself on different tasks will put more pressure on the chest region due to heavy breathing. There is no need for surgery in most cases to treat this condition. Even when it is done, it is a minor surgery only to drain the excess fluids from the chest region.

Last updated on : 14-09-2018

Disclaimer : Docprime doesn’t endorse or take any guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of information provided under this article and these are the views strictly of the writer. Docprime shall not be held responsible for any aspect of healthcare services administered with the information provided on this article.

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