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Pleurisy or pleuritis is an inflammation of the pleura, which are the thin membranes that line the chest cavity and enclose the lungs. It can be caused by several types of infection or inflammation. This inflammation can lead to difficulty breathing, chest pain, and other respiratory symptoms. 

Causes of pleurisy

Pleurisy can be caused by various underlying conditions. The most common cause is a viral or bacterial infection, often as a complication of respiratory infections such as pneumonia or flu. Other possible causes of pleurisy include:

·      autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

·      lung conditions such as tuberculosis or pulmonary embolism

·      acute pericarditis

·      thoracic endometriosis

·      aortic dissection

·      trauma to the chest

Symptoms of pleurisy

Signs and symptoms of pleurisy may include:

·      Chest pain that worsens when you cough, breathe, or sneeze

·      Shortness of breath 

·      Cough 

·      Fever but only in specific circumstances.

·      Pleurisy-related pain may intensify with upper-body movement and migrate to the shoulders or back.

Pleurisy can develop in conjunction with:

·      pleural effusion

·      atelectasis

·      emphysema

Who Does It Affect

Pleurisy affects people of all ages, but certain factors may increase the risk of developing the condition. This includes:

·      Older adults

·      People with a history of respiratory infections and lung diseases.

·      Those with autoimmune disorders

·      A recent chest trauma

·      Individuals with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV/ AIDS.

Diagnosing Pleurisy

Pleurisy is usually diagnosed after a physical examination and a study of the patient’s medical records. During the examination, your doctor will listen to your chest with a stethoscope. They may perform imaging tests, such as chest X-rays, CT scans, or ultrasounds, to confirm the diagnosis.

Treating and prevention of pleurisy

Treatment options may include:

·      Infection prevention medication. If your pleurisy is caused by an infection, your doctor may recommend antibiotics or antifungal drugs.

·      Medications for symptom alleviation. Your doctor may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids to treat pain.

·      Draining of fluid. To ease your pain, your provider may do a thoracentesis, which involves removing fluid from your lungs.

Prevention of pleurisy is frequently focused on lowering the risk of developing underlying conditions that can lead to pleurisy. This involves:

·      preventing infections

·      having a strong immune system

·      giving up smoking

Pleurisy is a painful and distressing disorder caused by inflammation of the lining of the lungs. It is frequently caused by underlying infections, autoimmune illnesses, or pulmonary diseases. Taking preventative steps can dramatically lower the likelihood of getting pleurisy.

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