Pleural effusion Essay

This essay has a total of 385 words and 2 pages.

pleural effusion

In normal breathing, the lungs expand and contract easily and rhythmically within the
ribcage. To facilitate this movement and lubricate the moving parts, each lung is
enveloped in a moist, smooth, two-layered membrane (the pleura). The outer layer of this
membrane lines the ribcage, and between the layers is a virtually imperceptible space (the
pleural space), which permits the layers to glide gently across each other. If either of
your pleurae becomes inflamed and roughened, the gliding process is impeded and you are
suffering from pleurisy. Pleurisy is actually a symptom of an underlying disease rather
than a disease in itself. The pleurae may become inflamed as a complication of a lung or
chest infection such as pneumonia or tuberculosis, or the inflammation may be caused by a
slight pneumothorax or chest injury. The pleural inflammation sometimes creates a further
complication by causing fluid to seep into the pleural space, resulting in a condition
known as pleural effusion. However, pleurisy is not the only condition that can lead to
pleural effusion, it may also be produced by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, liver
or kidney trouble or heart failure. Even cancer spreading from the lung, breast or ovary
can cause pleural effusion. If you have pleurisy, it hurts to breathe deeply or cough, and
chest pain is likely to be severe. Accompanying the pain are any other symptoms associated
with the underlying disorder. The pain will disappear if a pleural effusion occurs as a
consequence of pleurisy, because fluid stops the layers of the pleura from rubbing against
each other; however, you may become breathless as the fluid accumulates. In most cases,
the risks are those of the underlying cause. A big pleural effusion can compress the lungs
and cause breathlessness. Any effusion may lead to empyema. A chest X-ray examination may
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