Pleura is the term given for the layer of tissue that covers the inner portion of your chest and lungs. Pleurisy is the condition in which the pleural layer develops inflammation which can cause sharp chest pain and difficulty in breathing. It may cause sudden stabbing pain on your chest which fades within few minutes. This pain gets worse when the person coughs or inhales air. Pleurisy is caused by viral or bacterial infection and sometimes due to lung disease. The root cause of the problem is to be treated to manage the symptoms of pleurisy.
Pleurisy or pleuritis can cause intense sharp pain on your chest and the pain gets worse while you cough or sneeze. It can cause shortness of breath, mild fever, pain on your neck and back. Intensity of pain varies from person to person.
The lungs and chest wall are separated by two thin layer of tissue called pleura. One layer covers the inner chest cavity and the other layer of tissue surrounds the outer portion of your lungs. Pleural pain is felt when the space between the pleural layers is not having any fluid. This causes rubbing of two layers of pleura over each other leading to sharp pain.
Pleural space is the small space available between the layers of tissue that envelops your chest cavity. Normally there would be fair amount of fluid in this space so that two pleural layers do not contact each other. This fluid also helps in regular contraction and expansion of the lungs giving flexible movement. Sometimes, large quantity of fluid inside the pleural space can apply pressure over your lungs causing breathing problem. Infection can also occur in this fluid causing emphema.
When the pleural layer gets inflamed due to some reason, it causes pleurisy. Pleurisy can be caused due to viral or bacterial infection, rheumatoid disease and intake of certain medications. Certain kinds of lung infection and lung disease can also cause pleurisy. Any type of chest injury, pneumonia infection and pulmonary embolism and lung cancer can cause pleurisy.
Your doctor would complete physical exam and may order for series of tests like blood profile, chest X-ray, CT scan of your chest and ultrasound or ECG testing. For some people, he may collect little of fluid present in the pleural space by thoracentesis or pleural biopsy. He may also order for thoracoscopy procedure for removing tissue sample of pleura.
Your doctor will first find out the cause of pleurisy and accordingly give suitable treatment. If infection is the actual cause, it would be treated with antibiotics. Antiviral medications are effective for treating pleurisy due to viral infection. For lung disease that causes pleurisy, suitable treatments are given to manage the symptoms. Follow the instructions of your health care provider in taking medications. Get plenty of rest.