The lungs are encased by a membrane. Normally, only a small amount of fluid circulates in the space between the membrane and lungs to prevent friction as the lungs inflate and deflate. Certain diseases, such as infections, inflammations, tumors and trauma, can cause excess fluid to leak from the lungs into the plural space. This is known as pleural effusion. When the membrane itself becomes inflamed, the condition is known as pleurisy. These conditions can make breathing difficult or painful, and are sometimes found together.
How is pleural effusion treated?
The excess fluid is normally drained away, allowing the lung to re-expand. If the fluid is infected, antibiotics will be given. Simultaneously, the disease causing the pleural effusion must be treated to prevent the problem from recurring.
How is pleurisy treated?
Most cases of pleurisy are caused by a virus. However, pleurisy can also be caused by pneumonia, tuberculosis, lupus and other diseases. Pleurisy is resolved by treating the underlying cause.
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