Pleurisy is a condition in which the pleura- two large, thin layers of tissue that separate your lungs from your chest wall – becomes inflamed. It is also called Pleuritis ,pleurisy causes sharp chest pain (Pleuritic pain) that worsens during breathing.
One pleural layer of tissue wraps around the outside of the lungs termed as visceral pleura. The other pleural layer lines the inner chest wall is known as parietal pleura. Between these two layers is a small space (pleural space) that’s usually filled with a very small amount of liquid known as pleuritic fluid. Normally, these layers act like two pieces of smooth satin gliding past each other, allowing your lungs to expand and contract when you breathe.
If you have pleurisy,accumulation of extra fluid in the spece between the two layers of pleura ( pleural effusion) ,the tissues present in between swell and become inflamed. As a result, the two layers of the pleural membrane rub against each other like two pieces of sandpaper, producing pain when you inhale and exhale. The pleuritic pain lessens or stops when you hold your breath.
Sign and symptoms of pleurisy might include –
• Chest pain that worsens when you breathe, cough or sneeze
• Shortness of breath- because you are trying to minimize breathing in and out
• A stabbing sensation
• Cough ( rarely)
• Fever ( rarely)
Pain caused by pleurisy might worsen with movement of your upper body and can radiate to your shoulders or back.
The most common symptom of pleurisy is pain that is generally aggravated by inspiration. Although the lungs themselves do not contain any pain nerves, the pleura contains abundant nerve endings. When extra fluid accumulates in the space between the layers of pleura, the pain usually is a less severe form of pleurisy. With very large amount of fluid accumulation known as Pleural effusion , the expansion of the lungs can be limited, and shortness of breath can worsen.
An individual may also experience fever, chills and dry cough. These symptoms can indicate an infection in the fluid, also called an Empyema.
A large amount off fluid in the pleural space can create pressure, compressing your lung to the point that it partially or completely collapses, this condition is known as Atelectasis. This makes breathing difficult and might cause coughing.
Pleurisy can be caused by any of the following conditions-
• Infection- bacterial (tuberculosis causing also), fungi, parasites or viruses
• Collagen vascular diseases – lupus, rheumatoid arthritis
• Tumors of the pleura- mesothelioma or sarcoma
• Cancers – for example, the spread of lung cancer or breast cancer to the pleura
• Inhaled chemicals or toxic substances – exposure to some cleaning agents like ammonia
• Congestion – heart failure
• Pulmonary embolism – blood clots inside the blood vessels to the lungs can reduce blood and oxygen to portions of the lung and can cause death to that portion of lung tissue. This can cause pleurisy too.
• Trauma – rib fractures or irritation from chest tubes used to drain air or fluid from the pleural cavity in the chest.
• Abdominal processes – such as pancreatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, gall bladder disease and damage to the spleen.
• Pneumothorax- air in the pleural space,occuring spontaneously or from trauma.
• Blood tests
• Chest X-ray
• CT scan
Getting adequate rest to assist your body with the healing process is an important part of getting well. In addition, lying on the side that has pain may provide just enough pressure to make the pain go away.
Other method of treatment include –
• antibiotics for bacterial infection
• over-the- counter medicines, including ibuprofen, aspirin or other NSAIDs
• medications to breakup any blood clots or large collections of pus and mucus
• bronchodilators via inhaler devices
Individuals with large amounts of fluid in their lungs might have to stay in the hospital with a drain tube in the chest until fluids drain adequately.
Complications of pleurisy can be serious. They include-
• Lungs get blocked or cannot expand the way they should (atelactasis)
• Pus in pleural cavity ( empyema)
• A sudden drop in blood flow (shock)
• A dangerous reaction to infection (Sepsis)
• Extra fluid in the pleural cavity (Pleural effusion)…
Ayurvedic Perspective –
According to Ayurveda, pleurisy can be corellated with Parsh washool. Vayu gets aggravated and collects from the body into the lungs. This leads to accumulation of kapha which is thick. Since Pitta is hot in nature, it liquefies Kapha and converts it into a watery fluid. As a result, there is accumulation of fluid in lungs, Which causes discomfort while breathing. Aggravation of kapha can extinguish the gastric fire and hamper the digestion.
Beneficial Herbs –
• Haridra – It acts as Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory.
• Tulsi – It acts as kapha pacifier .
• Sonth – It also act as antiinflammatory and kapha pacifier.
• Giloy– It is best known immunity booster.
• Vasaka – It is best known for lungs strengthening.
• Mulethi– It acts as immunity booster and kapha pacifier.
Effective Medications –
• Shring Bhasm
• Ras sindoor
• Swarn vasant malti Ras
• Abhrak Bhasm
• Mahalaxmivilas Ras
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