Pleurisy - The Basics To Understand

Pleurisy, which is otherwise referred to as Pleuritis is a swelling of the membrane called as pleura, which is generally double-layered and moist. This membrane surrounds the lungs and it lines the rib cage. The worst thing about this condition is that it makes breathing highly painful. It is sometimes associated with another condition known as pleural effusion, wherein excess fluid fills the area that lies between the layers of the membrane.

What is the responsibility of pleura?

The double-layered pleura is responsible for protecting and lubricating the surface of the lungs as they blow up and blow down within the rib cage. In general, the fluid-filled and thin gap called the pleural space permits the two layers of the pleural membrane to go down gently past each other. But, when there is a swelling, with every breath, cough or sneeze, the rough surfaces rub each other, thereby causing pain.

Pleural effusion:

In some patients with this condition, the excess fluid gets into the pleural space, thereby resulting in effusion. But, there is a good thing associated with this fluid buildup. The good thing is that it gives a lubricating effect, thereby providing relief to the pain connected with pleuritis as it brings down the friction in between the layers of the membrane. On the other hand, the added fluid also adds pressure to the lungs, thereby bringing down their ability of free movement. When the fluid level increases, it will also lead to shortness of breath. Even in some patients, this excess fluid gets infected.

Causes of Pleurisy:

Experts state that the main reason behind this condition is viral infection. There are also other causes like those mentioned below:

• Reaction to drugs

• Injury to chest

• Other health issues like pulmonary embolism, liver disease, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

• Infection to lungs like tuberculosis and pneumonia.

Generally, as compared to this health issue, the underlying disease is more serious. So, if a patient is recognized to have Pleuritis, he/she might already be undergoing treatment to any of the above-mentioned health issue. Otherwise, it is better to seek immediate medical help. Pleural effusion can occur even in people without Pleuritis and this can be caused due to liver diseases, heart failure and kidney diseases without any pain or swelling.

Diet and lifestyle advice:

Pleuritis is an acute condition that can last for a few days, to the maximum of two weeks. When a patient is diagnosed to have this condition, he/she will be recommended to take complete rest and to avoid hot sun, air-conditioner exposure, rain and exertion. Also, the patient should take light foods that are not spicy and oily. Also, foods that are cold like cold drinks and ice cream should be avoided.

Home remedy:

There is an excellent home remedy for this condition. The patient in addition to taking medications prescribed by the doctor can also take a mixture of powdered pepper, cardomum and cinnamon with honey for three times a day to get some relief.

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