When I Take Deep Breaths my Chest Hurts
When I Take Deep Breaths my Chest Hurts—Pleurisy or pleuritis is inflammation of the membranes covering the lungs or pleura. This condition causes the sufferer to feel stabbing chest pain, especially when breathing.
The pleura is a thin membrane that covers the lungs and the inner chest wall. The pleura consists of two layers that play a role in keeping the lungs from rubbing against the walls of the chest cavity.
Between the two layers of the lung, there is a pleural fluid that acts as a lubricant and helps reduce friction when breathing.
When there is inflammation, the pleura will swell and cause breathing problems. Pleurisy or inflammation of the pleura is more prone to be experienced by smokers.
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Causes of Pleurisy
Pleurisy occurs when the pleura becomes inflamed and irritated. Inflammation makes the pleura swell and the pleural fluid becomes sticky. This condition can cause chest pain whenever the two layers of the pleura rub together, which is when the lungs expand (inhale).
One of the causes of pleurisy is an infection, both viral, bacterial, and fungal infections, such as the influenza virus or TB bacteria. In addition to infection, pleurisy or pleurisy can also be caused by:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- Pulmonary disorders, such as pulmonary embolism
- Lung cancer
- Injury to the ribs
- Hereditary diseases, such as sickle cell anemia
Symptoms of Pleurisy
The main symptom of pleurisy is severe pain that feels sharp and stabbing in the chest, especially when breathing in. The pain in the left or right chest will get worse when sneezing, coughing, laughing, or moving, but can subside when holding your breath or pressing the chest area.
In addition to chest pain, other symptoms that can be experienced by people with gastritis are:
- Loss of appetite
- Joint and muscle pain
- Shoulder and back pain
- Dry cough
- Hard to breathe
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