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Illnesses
Pleurisy



Pleurisy
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.07

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    asbestos-related, effusion, embolism, lupus, norm, pleura, pleural, pleurisy, pulmonary, thoracentesis, acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory, lubricate, viral, idiopathic, excess


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Pleurisy
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     The pleura is a double-layered membrane in the chest. It surrounds the lungs and lines the rib cage. Its job is to protect and lubricate the surface of the lungs as they deflate and inflate. There's a space called the pleural space that is thin but filled with fluid. This gap allows the layers of the membrane to slide past each other gently.
 
2     Pleurisy is the inflammation of this double-layered membrane called the pleura. With this inflammation, the layers rub painfully together instead of sliding gently past each other. Every breath, sneeze, and cough becomes painful. As a result of this condition, there's often a sound, called a friction rub, which can be heard with a stethoscope. It's a rough, grating sound. Sometimes the sound is even audible just by putting an ear to the sick person's chest.
 
3     Sometimes with pleurisy, extra fluid enters the pleural space. This creates a situation called pleural effusion. Interestingly enough, this creates quite the ironic situation. The extra fluid reduces the friction and, therefore, the pain. The news is not all good, though. The situation puts a lot of pressure on the lungs. When the lungs can't move easily, there's shortness of breath. The excess fluid also creates the chance of infection.

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