Pleurisy

(Pleuritis)

Definition

Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the double-layered membrane that surrounds each lung and the rib cage. The pleura protects and lubricates the surface of the lungs as they inflate and deflate within the rib cage. When they become inflamed, the diseased surfaces rub painfully together.
Pleura of the Lungs
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Causes

There are several causes for either acute or chronic pleurisy.
  • Viral infection such as influenza and cold viruses
  • Lung infections from bacteria like tuberculosis or parasites like amebiasis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Collapsed lung—pneumothorax

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of pleurisy include:

Symptoms

Symptoms of pleurisy include:
  • Sharp, stabbing pain towards the side and lower part of the chest
  • Pain along the shoulders, neck, and abdomen
  • Pain during any movement of the chest, such as breathing and coughing
  • Dry coughing
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid and shallow breathing

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