By | June 8, 2022

Pleurisy is also known as pleurisy or pleurisy. In this disease, inflammation occurs within a thin layer of tissue between the lungs and the chest cavity. This layer is called the pleura. The cause of pleurisy is usually a previous lung or bronchial disease. Typical signs of pleurisy are pain when breathing out and breathing in and the resulting shortness of breath or even shortness of breath.

What is pleurisy (pleurisy)?

A so-called pleurisy Рin medical jargon called pleuritis Рis when the extremely thin tissue (called pleura) that is located between the chest and the lungs becomes inflamed. For bacterial vaginosis guide, please visit

However, this tissue not only includes the lungs themselves, but is also found extensively in the entire chest cavity and rib area. Therefore, those affected by pleurisy do not always only feel severe pain in the lung area, but in the entire chest area. In some cases, there is persistent shortness of breath or even shortness of breath.


In most cases, pleurisy occurs as a result of a previous illness that affected the inner chest area or the lungs – for example after severe pneumonia, severe bronchitis or tuberculosis, as this always takes a long time to heal completely.

During the course of the disease, due to the existing clinical picture and the symptoms that occur, water usually collects in the irritated chest. In this very common case, one speaks medically of wet pleurisy. However, doctors strictly separate this type of pleurisy from a so-called dry pleurisy, in which the tissue is more likely to be affected due to the respiratory effort and the existing inflammation.

Pleurisy almost never occurs as a completely independent disease, i.e. without a corresponding disease in advance. If you suffer from such a disease as a patient, you can prevent pleurisy by strengthening the immune system during the course of the disease.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Inflammation of the pleura is primarily expressed through typical signs of inflammation. Affected people first notice a slight fever and a general feeling of illness. A short time later, breathing difficulties appear: dry cough, shortness of breath and occasionally also hoarseness.

Breath sounds are creaky or grating, with the leather rubbing increasing as the illness progresses before slowly fading away as the patient recovers. As a result of the inflammation, the pleura becomes overly sensitive to pain, causing sharp chest pains when breathing . Deep breaths are particularly painful, which is why many sufferers breathe mainly through their nose and limit themselves to shallow breaths.

The characteristic breathing activity promotes diseases of the respiratory tract. Pleurisy can result in a dry, painful cough. The pain usually occurs on one side and can radiate to the shoulder and chest regions. Accompanying this, the symptoms and complaints of the respective underlying disease appear.

In addition, if the inflammation spreads to the diaphragm , hiccups may develop. Symptoms of pleurisy appear two to five days after infection and get progressively worse. With prompt treatment, the symptoms subside within a few days.

Course of the disease

Patients suffering from pleurisy usually increasingly complain of pain when coughing and breathing. The pain begins rather inconspicuously and then slowly increases as the disease progresses. In the initial phase of pleurisy, many of those affected can still interpret the precise focus of pain, but later the pressure spreads, often together with the pleurisy, to the entire chest cavity.

In other words, the patients complain about severe discomfort in the entire chest and no longer just in the lung area. As the pleurisy progresses, the feeling of pain also increases. At a later stage of the illness, many people who suffer from pleurisy also complain of constant pressure in the rib area.


If the underlying disease is treated, there are usually no serious effects. However, if pleurisy is not treated in time, the risk of complications increases. One of the most common consequences of pleural inflammation is the so-called pleural rind. It appears primarily in exudative pleurisy. If the inflamed pleura sections lie on top of each other for a long period of time without moving, the pleura and lung membrane can grow together.

This in turn leads to the development of a pleural callus or pleural rind. This process creates a firm connection between the lungs and the chest. As a result, the patient can no longer breathe freely because less air is taken in with each breath. Even when the pleurisy has healed, there are still limitations in lung elasticity. An operation is required to separate the pleura from the lungs.

The feared complication of pleurisy is pleural empyema, which is a purulent effusion. The pleural space is filled with fluid. If the extent is small, the pleural empyema often goes unnoticed. However, as volume increases, the lungs are unable to expand sufficiently, making breathing difficult. The patient eventually suffers from shortness of breath.

A pleural empyema is usually triggered by bronchiectasis, bacterial pneumonia, a lung abscess or a surgical procedure inside the chest. It is noticeable in cough, high fever, night sweats and weight loss.

When should you go to the doctor?

If you have pleurisy, you should always see a doctor. This disease does not heal itself and in most cases the symptoms worsen significantly if no treatment is initiated. Early diagnosis and treatment of pleurisy always has a positive effect on the further course of the disease and can prevent complications. A doctor should be consulted if the patient suffers from severe chest pain. Fever and general flu symptoms also occur.

The pain itself can also spread to the shoulders and therefore have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life. In most cases, there is also coughing or severe shortness of breath. If these symptoms occur, a doctor must be consulted in any case. In the first place, a general practitioner can be visited in the case of pleurisy. In emergencies or in the case of very severe and acute symptoms, an ambulance can be called or the hospital can be visited directly. Pleurisy can be treated relatively well, so that the life expectancy of the patient is usually not limited by this disease.

Treatment & Therapy

In order for pleurisy to be treated successfully, it must be diagnosed as quickly as possible. If the necessary therapy is started promptly, pleurisy usually heals without any major long-term consequences. However, the therapy for pleurisy is less aimed at treating the pleurisy itself, but rather the underlying disease that caused it.

The situation is different with the symptoms themselves: the pain that occurs can be relieved, for example with gentle heat, after consultation with the doctor treating you. In addition, strict bed rest and rest must be observed, since patients with pleurisy are usually very short of breath. Medication is only used during pleurisy if it is compatible with the underlying disease.

In addition, respiratory therapies are often initiated to support deep breathing – even during the painful pleurisy. Because it must be prevented that the patient takes only short breaths for fear of pain. This could cause the pleura to grow together with the rib cage. If this is the case, an operation after the pleurisy is usually unavoidable.


Pleurisy is accompanied by severe upper body pain. The affected person finds the symptoms to be very stressful in everyday life. The inflammation may indicate another organic cause. Follow-up therapy depends on the trigger. In addition, it aims to alleviate symptoms.

The pleurisy should be healed in the end without consequences. Follow-up care continues until complete healing. If not adequately cured, the disease can become life-threatening. For this reason, both treatment and follow-up measures must be taken seriously by the patient.

Computer tomography, blood tests or a pleural endoscopy provide information on the cause. She needs to be treated first. The pulmonary specialist prescribes pain-relieving and antipyretic medicine to counteract the inflammation. If the cause is bacterial, the patient also receives antibiotics. Follow-up care ends when the medication is stopped. The doctor determines the exact time. A suction of pleural effusion is performed by a puncture in the chest cavity.

The healing progress can be recorded with regular checks. Late effects must be avoided. Even after the end of therapy, the patient should attend follow-up appointments. In the event of an unexpected recurrence of pleurisy, treatment and aftercare begin again. For clarification, the specialist will schedule further examinations.

You can do that yourself

The focus of self-applicable measures for pleurisy is maintaining adequate lung ventilation and preventing inflammation of the lungs (pneumonia) as well as relieving breathing-related pain. Various exercises can be carried out to ensure ventilation of all lung areas. Of course, any painkillers that may have been prescribed should be taken with some time interval beforehand to make it easier to carry out.

Children in particular enjoy it when they are asked to produce soap bubbles. All you need to do is provide a straw and a cup of soapy water. By slowly blowing in air, the lung tissue expands and the body’s own secretions can drain off better. Adult patients should remember to take deep breaths regularly to achieve the same effect. Regular walking or rubbing rubbing with rubbing alcohol or something similar can also be beneficial. The person concerned should under no circumstances restrict their personal mobility themselves because of the unpleasant sensation.

Concomitant fever can be reduced by drinking adequate amounts of mineral water, rest, and taking antipyretic drugs. However, high fever or a bacterial origin should be treated by a doctor.