The term ‘Pleuritis’ can be broken down into two separate words for better comprehension of the condition being discussed. The word ‘Pleura’ refers to the two membranes namely, Parietal and Visceral pleura whereas ‘Itis’ denotes inflammation. Thus, Pleuritis or Pleurisy can be described as inflammation of the pleura.
The two inflamed, thin layers generate characteristic symptoms such as pain upon contact during the process of inhaling air. The most rampant cause for pleuritis is an infection of viral or bacterial origin whereas the less prevalent reasons include autoimmune diseases, damage to the lung tissue or certain drug reactions.
The below given content clearly discusses the symptoms commonly seen in the respiratory condition.
The chronic inflammatory respiratory condition is always characterized by pain of sudden onset. The nature of the pain can be typically described as a sharp one almost like a stab to the chest region. The intensity of pain escalates for the worse upon movements such as that of coughing, sudden sneeze, deep inhalation or even laughing aloud. Mostly, the pain remains localized but may seep into other regions such as the shoulders, back or abdomen (depending upon the part of the lung involved).
Rarely, patients describe the pleuritic pain to be of a dull nature that lingers on for a long duration. It has been medically observed that the type of pain mentioned above mostly targets any one side of the chest, frequently in the lower aspect of the rib cage. On being questioned, if the patient specifically mentions that the chest pain declines on applying pressure on the affected chest area or by withholding breath for some time, the chances of him/her being diagnosed with pleuritis is quite plausible.
Those diagnosed with pleuritis show clinical symptoms of dry cough that stays on for approximately three to four weeks.
The non-productive cough (with nil production of mucus) makes the patient feel as if his or her body is being torn apart due to the initiation of intense pain.
In many cases, Pleurisy is associated with pleural effusion (fluid accumulation takes place in the space between the two membranes). Although the fluid does bring down the sharp pain sensation considerably, the excessive pooling of pleural fluid puts more pressure on the respiration organ leading to its compression. This impairs the normal functioning of the lungs and results in shortness of breath.
The person suffering from pleurisy thus, experiences Dyspnea, which can be explained as difficulty in breathing coupled with Tachypnea (breathing in rapid succession) along with Hypopnea or shallow breathing.
Depending on the causative agent responsible for Pleuritis, patients may experience slight or high fever accompanied with chills too.
The elevated body temperature and strenuous breathing make the affected individual feel quite unwell.
Noteworthy deterioration in the physical condition occurs in pleurisy. This also results in dropping of the body weight as well as weakness.
The laboured breathing seen in patients with Pleurisy has a negative influence on the intake and supply of oxygen to the other areas of the body.
As a result, cyanosis or bluish discolouration of areas such as finger tips, lips and chest can occur especially in cases wherein persistence of breathing difficulty co-exists.
This particular symptom is medically termed as hemoptysis and must be immediately reported to the doctor. In case you have noticed yellow or green coloured phlegm of thick consistency with blood, do report to your doctor along with relevant details regarding the frequency, amount and colour of expectoration.
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