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What are the symptoms of pleurisy?

The most common symptom of pleurisy is chest pain (pleuritic pain), which worsens with breathing in or coughing. The pain may originate and remain in one specific area of the chest wall, or it may spread to the shoulder or back. The pain results from inflammation of the outer layer of pleura and is usually felt in the chest wall right over the site of the inflammation. However, the pain may be felt also or only in the upper abdominal region or neck and shoulder as referred pain.
To ease chest pain from pleurisy, a person with pleurisy often lies on the affected side as a way of limiting movement of the chest wall. In rare cases, the chest pain of pleurisy is a fairly constant, dull ache. The pain is intensified with each breath. The affected person often breathes very shallowly to reduce the pain of pleurisy. Breathing may be rapid and shallow because deep breathing induces pain; the muscles on the painful side move less than those on the other side. If a large amount of fluid accumulates, it may separate the pleural layers, so the chest pain disappears. Large amounts of fluid can cause difficulty in expanding one or both lungs when breathing, causing respiratory distress.


More information on pleurisy

What is pleurisy? - Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, the lining of the lungs, with subsequent pain. Pleurisy is frequently associated with a pleural effusion.
What causes pleurisy? - There are many causes of pleurisy. Pleurisy may develop in the presence of lung inflammation, rheumatic diseases, chest trauma.
What're the symptoms of pleurisy? - The most common symptom of pleurisy is chest pain (pleuritic pain), which worsens with breathing in or coughing.
How is pleurisy diagnosed? - Pleurisy is diagnosed by history and physical exam. Pleurisy is often easy for doctors to diagnose because pleuritic pain is so distinctive.
What's the treatment for pleurisy? - Treatment of pleurisy is directed at the underlying illness. Bacterial infections are treated with appropriate antibiotics.
How to prevent pleurisy? - Pleurisy can be prevented, depending on its cause. In some cases, pleurisy can be prevented by preventing the medical condition that causes it.
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