The disease known as pleurisy is an inflammation of the two membranes that cover the lungs. The role of the double membranes known as pleura is to keep the area of the lungs coated or well oiled as they do their function of allowing the person to breathe by inflating and deflating his lungs. The two pleura membranes are separated by a space that is normally filled with fluid. When inflammation of the pleura happens, the two layers chafe against each other causing the person to feel pain whenever he breathes and even more pain when he sneezes or coughs. Those symptoms are caused by the disease known as pleurisy.

A complicating problem due to pleurisy is called pleural effusion. In case of a pleural effusion, the space between the two membranes begins to fill up with fluid. The build up of fluid actually relieves the chafing between the two membranes caused by inflammation but has a negative effect on the lungs. The over abundance of fluid causes the lungs to restrict their breathing capacity since the build up of fluid prevents the lungs from expanding and contracting normally. Symptoms of a pleural effusion which is a problem caused by pleurisy is difficulty in breathing.

There are many probably causes of pleurisy. The most common cause is an infection caused by a virus which leads to inflammation. Other probably causes of pleurisy are pneumonia, tuberculosis, lupus, arthritis, cancer, liver infections, and heart related issues. Some less obvious causes of pleurisy are injuries to the chest and an adverse reaction to drugs. Although pleurisy is usually the onset of other complicating diseases like pleural effusion, a person can develop a pleural effusion without having pleurisy. Disorders associated with causes of pleural effusion without pleurisy are infections of the kidneys, heart disease, and diseases of the liver. There is usually no pain with pleural effusion. However, pleurisy causes considerable pain to the person infected.

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