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Pleurisy

Pleurisy

Talk with your doctor about any chest pain   that worries you. Many causes of chest pain are dangerous and even life-threatening.

  • shaking chills, and a cough that produces thick green or yellow sputum, you may have pneumonia  . Talk to your doctor, who may want you to have a chest x-ray.
  • Your risk of having another disease along with pleurisy increases with your age and the presence of other serious medical conditions such as heart disease  ,emphysema , chronic bronchitis
  • If you have a swollen leg or arm along with pleurisy, you may have a deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolus. This is a blood clot in a vein that has broken off and traveled to your lungs.

You should almost always see a doctor for new chest pain, especially if you are very short of breath, have a high fever, or feel lightheaded or if the pain keeps you from moving around comfortably.

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Self-Care at Home

Some chest pain is dangerous. Sometimes even an experienced doctor can't tell you the exact cause of your pain. Pleurisy is frequently diagnosed only when other more serious causes have been ruled out.

  • Use an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen (Motrin) or aspirin, to reduce the pain and inflammation.
  • You may have less pain if you lie on the side that hurts.
  • Avoid exerting yourself or doing anything that would cause you to breathe hard.
  • Call your doctor or go to your hospital's emergency department if you can't breathe deeply or cough because of severe pain.

Follow-up

Pleurisy can cause intense discomfort. If your pain is not well controlled, you may develop pneumonia   because you can't breathe and cough appropriately. Increasing shortness of breath, coughing up more phlegm, intense shaking chills (called rigors), and high fevers should prompt reevaluation by a doctor. If the pain gets worse in spite of prescribed medication or if your symptoms do not improve after a week, you should get reevaluated by a physician.

Prevention

Most pleurisy is caused by infection and is unavoidable. You can avoid severe pleuritic chest pain by early diagnosis and treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs.

Outlook

Pleurisy caused by viral infections usually lasts about seven days and goes away. Pleurisy from other conditions, such as a cancer , may continue indefinitely.

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