Your health care provider will likely begin by asking about your medical history and performing a physical exam that includes listening to your chest with a stethoscope.
To determine if you have pleurisy and identify the cause, your health care provider may recommend:
- blood tests. A blood test can tell if you have an infection. other blood tests can detect an autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. in these conditions, pleurisy may be the first sign.
- chest x-ray. a chest x-ray can show if your lungs are fully inflated or if there is air or fluid between the lungs and the ribs.
- computed tomography (CT) scan A CT scan combines a series of x-ray images taken from different angles around your body. uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images that look like slices of your chest. these detailed images can show the condition of the pleura. They can also show if there are other causes of pain, such as a blood clot in the lung.
- ultrasound. This imaging method uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures inside your body. an ultrasound may be used to determine if you have a pleural effusion.
- electrocardiogram (ecg or ekg). This heart monitoring test may be recommended to rule out certain heart problems as a cause of your chest pain.
- thoracentesis. In this procedure, a local anesthetic is injected between the ribs in the area where fluid was seen on imaging studies. A needle is then inserted through the chest wall between the ribs to withdraw fluid for laboratory analysis. removing fluid can also help you breathe easier. the needle is usually inserted with the help of ultrasound guidance.
- thoracoscopy. If tuberculosis or cancer is suspected, a thoracoscopy, also called a pleuroscopy, may be done. During this procedure, a tiny camera (thoracoscope) is inserted through a small incision in the chest wall. This procedure allows a direct view inside your chest to look for any problems or to obtain a tissue sample (biopsy).
- Take your medication. Take the medication recommended by your health care provider to relieve pain and swelling.
- Get plenty of rest. Find the position that causes the least discomfort when you rest. Even when you start to feel better, be careful not to overdo it.
- Do not smoke. Smoking can further irritate the lungs. if you smoke and can’t quit on your own, ask your health care provider for help.
- details of your symptoms, including where your chest pain starts and how far it spreads. Also list other signs and symptoms, such as fever, shortness of breath, or weight loss.
- key medical information, including recent hospitalizations and any medical conditions you have. Also note if family members, especially children, or close friends have recently been sick.
- Drugs you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or other supplements, and their dosages.
- Key personal information, including recent travel and major life changes. Your health care provider may also be interested in your work history, including possible asbestos exposure.
- questions to ask your health care provider.
- what do you think is the underlying cause of my symptoms?
- what types of diagnostic tests or procedures do I need, if any?
- what treatment do you recommend?
- How soon after starting treatment can I expect to feel better?
- Are there self-care steps I can take to improve my discomfort?
- Do you recommend that I stay home from work and school? for how long?
- Will it help if I quit smoking?
- Am I at risk for long-term complications from this condition?
- I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- How would you describe your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to make your symptoms better or worse?
- have you been diagnosed or treated for any other health conditions?
- Have you traveled recently?
- Have you been involved in any jobs, projects, or hobbies over the years that could have exposed you to asbestos?
- do you smoke or did you smoke? if so, how much and for how long?
- Have you recently noticed swollen, tender joints or rashes?
In some cases, your healthcare provider may remove fluid and tissue from the pleural space for testing. procedures may include:
Treatment of pleurisy focuses primarily on the underlying cause. for example, if bacterial pneumonia is the cause, an antibiotic may be prescribed to control the infection. If the cause is a viral infection, the pleurisy may go away on its own.
Pain and swelling associated with pleurisy are usually treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin Ib, others). Occasionally, your health care provider may prescribe steroid medications.
The outcome of pleurisy treatment depends on the severity of the underlying cause. Early diagnosis and treatment of the condition that caused your pleurisy can help you feel better. Depending on the cause and condition, you may have a full recovery.
lifestyle and home remedies
These steps may help relieve symptoms related to pleurisy:
getting ready for her date
You’ll likely start by seeing your primary care provider. however, when you call to make your appointment, you may be asked to seek immediate medical attention if you have severe, unexplained chest pain.
If possible, you can bring a family member or friend to help you remember the questions to ask and what your healthcare provider said.
Here’s some information to help you prepare for your appointment and what to expect from your health care provider.
what you can do
prepare a list that includes:
questions to ask may include:
Please feel free to ask any other questions during your appointment.
what to expect from your healthcare provider
Be prepared to answer questions your health care provider may ask, such as:
Your health care provider will ask you additional questions based on your answers, symptoms, and needs. preparing and anticipating questions will help you make the most of your appointment time.