In this condition factsheet:
The Facts on Pleurisy
Just as our skin is a barrier that protects our inner organs from the outside world, the lungs are protected by a special lining called the pleura. This lining includes the tissue inside the chest wall and tissue that surrounds the lungs. It protects the lungs from the chest wall and allows them to easily slide against each other.
Although it is normally smooth, if this lining becomes inflamed, the surface of the pleura becomes rough and irritated, causing the condition known as pleurisy. Sometimes, a collection of fluid around the lungs may occur - this is called wet pleurisy. Without the buildup of fluid between the lungs and the lining, the condition is known as dry pleurisy.
Causes of Pleurisy
Pleurisy is often caused by certain respiratory conditions. Pneumonia, tuberculosis, viral infections, or other lung infections may cause inflammation of the lining that leads to this condition.
Environmental factors such as asbestos in the air can also cause pleurisy.
Cancer that has spread from one area of the body or autoimmune disorders such as lupus may also result in inflammation of the lining of the lungs. Rarely, certain medications can cause pleural inflammation.
Symptoms and Complications of Pleurisy
The main symptom of pleurisy is chest pain. A person with pleurisy may feel pain with each breath; when a deep breath is taken; or while coughing, moving, or sneezing.
If pleurisy is associated with a lung infection (e.g., tuberculosis or pneumonia), then cough, shortness of breath, and fever are common.