Pleuritis

Pleuritis is the condition that gives sharp chest pain when swelling develops on the inner lining of the lungs. Pleura is the region of inner lining of chest and when it gets infected with inflammation it is called pleuritis. It will give you sharp intense pain when you take a deep breath or cough occasionally.

Causes :

Pneumonia or any other inflammatory disease that affects lungs can cause pleuritis. It can also be caused due to tuberculosis. Some of the factors/diseases that cause swelling of the lining of chest are given below:

Virus infection : Virus can cause infection when there is excess of unwanted materials accumulated on the lining of lungs, leading to pleurisy. It can pile up on several places of the lungs causing infection.

Bacterial infection : Pleuritis can occur when bacteria infects the inner lining of the lungs, in spite of taking antibiotics. Sometime, the bacteria will not respond to the drugs causing more damage to the lungs and vital organs.

Pneumonia : This is one of the common forms of bacterial infection affecting breathing ability of the person. The bacteria leave strong infection causing swelling of the lining of lungs leading to pleuritis. Similarly, TB damages the lungs to great extent causing bleeding of lungs and edema, filling the cavity with fluids.

Autoimmune disorders may also cause this disorder in which the body’s own immune system attacks the cells causing infection.

Smoking can also trigger swelling up of lining or tissues in the lungs gradually causing pleurisy. Lung cancer and other lung related diseases may affect the breathing ability of the person.

Exposure to asbestos particles can be other cause for pleuritis. Plenty of tiny particles of asbestos get accumulated in the lungs making it difficult to treat and many times it can be fatal.

Other factors that cause pleuritis are parasitic infection, surgery on heart, inflammatory bowel disease and Mediterranean fever.

Symptoms :

The intensity of signs may vary widely from one person to another depending on the severity of the infection. There may be shortness of breath, intense pain in the chest, chronic coughing, fever, chills, shallow breathing and weight loss. Due to repeated breathing problem, the skin of the person may change bluish (cyanosis) indicating mixing up of blood.

People affected with rheumatoid arthritis may have swelling in their joints which is also an underlying cause for pleuritis. Sore throat and weakening of lungs are some of the other symptoms when this problem is accompanied by other medical conditions.

Tests :

Doctor will look out for “rubbing cough” or for grating sound when the person coughs. He may also ask the individual to do CT scan, X-ray and ultrasound for detecting the intensity of infection.

Treatment :

After identifying the right causes that is responsible for the problem, treatment is started. In case of bacterial and viral infections, strong antibiotics are given. Treatment aims in removing the symptoms and preventing the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

In case of edema or fluid accumulation, it should be drained completely for giving relief in breathing. Very often, underlying conditions that triggers infection is removed and treated to control pleuritis.

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