Pleurisy is a medical condition that affects the lungs. Each of our lungs is encased in a thin membrane, known as the visceral pleura. This is a protective lining that protects the lungs against shocks and trauma. The chest wall, against which the lungs rest, is also lined with a similar protective membrane known as the parietal pleura. Since the two membranes are constantly in contact with each other, they are lubricated with a fluid in order to prevent friction between them. In pleurisy, the two membranes are not properly lubricated and this causes a lot of inflammation. This inflammation may be caused by various reasons such as infections of the upper respiratory tract. If the two membranes are irritated, the production of lubricant ceases and the membranes rub and grate against each other. This causes increasing discomfort, pain and breathing problems. The pain and discomfort usually increases when you cough, sneeze or take in deep breaths. The inflammation of the two membranes may also cause pleural effusion, which is a build up of fluids between the two membranes.
Apart from pleurisy, there are many other pleural disorders.
Alternative Names: There are several alternative names to the condition. These include pleuritis and pleuritic chest pain.