Pleurisy is an inflammation of the pleura, a serous membrane which envelopes the lungs and also lines the inside of the chest.
It may be acute or chronic, and mild or severe, the disease may be limited to one side of the chest or it may include both the sides.
(1) The onset of pleurisy is generally marked by a sharp and stabbing pain, which may be felt in any part of the chest wall or over the diaphragm.
(2) Deep breathing or coughing increases the pain. In many cases, the diseases begin with a chill, followed by congestion of the pleura and later by fever. The degree of the fever determines the severity of the disease.
(3) The inflammation destroys the tissues and chokes the circulation within the tissues.
(4) Breathing becomes difficult due to the clogging of the circulation, and by pain and swelling within the chest. Later a liquid effusion escapes from the pleura, filling the open spaces in the chest cavity till the effect of the distension becomes oppressive.
(5) After absorption takes place or after the drainage of the effusion, the pressure is lowered, the pain is reduced and the patient feels relieved. It is sometimes dry pleurisy, a form where there is little or no effusion or the effusion may be circumscribed.
(6) The effusion may become gangrenous, or become mixed with blood, or be of a dirty brown color with an offensive odour, leading to much suffering.
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