The Symptoms and Causes of Pleurisy

Overview

Pleurisy can make breathing difficult. Also called pleuritis [1], pleurisy is an inflammation of the two thin layers of tissue that separate your lungs from the wall of your wall. This condition causes pain that worsens when you breathe.

Normally, your lungs are lined by two layers of tissue called pleura. One of the pleura layers is wrapped around the lungs externally while the other pleura layer lines the inner wall of the chest. There is a small fluid-filled space called a pleural space between these two layers. When you breathe, the two thin layers of pleura rub against each other without friction or pain. This allows your lungs to expand and contract while you breathe. When the pleura becomes inflamed, this contact can become painful.

The resulting pain is what most people understand as pleurisy or pleuritis. The pain reduces when you pause breathing and resumes when you continue breathing. It is a very uncomfortable condition, but the incidence in modern times has reduced. Recent advances have made treatment of the underlying causes easier. This article discusses the most common symptoms and causes of the condition.