In the human body, the pleural cavity is the cavity that surrounds the lungs. The pleura is a membrane which basically folds back to create two layers. The space created between these two layers is what is known as the pleural cavity. Normally there is some fluid found in this cavity. The outer pleura, also known as the parietal pleura, is attached to the thoracic wall. The inner pleura, or visceral pleural, is found over the lungs and related blood vessels, nerves and bronchi.

The pleural cavity is essential for proper breathing. The pleurae are provided with a lubricant by the pleural fluid which allows them to move against each other during inhalation and exhalation. The fluid also controls the expansion and inflation of the alveoli with each breath. Further, the chest wall movements are controlled here. This is especially essential during times of heavy breathing.

As stated before, there should always be some amount of fluid inside the cavity. Fluid is constantly being used by the lymphatic system and therefore is in constant production. A few milliliters is a normal amount for a healthy system. Much more than that is probably a sign of a problem.

One such problem is pleurisy. Too much fluid will cause inflammation of the cavity. Infection by a virus is the main cause of pleurisy. Other causes are bacteria, fungi, parasites, blood clots in the lungs, chest injuries, pneumothorax (too much air in the chest) and other lung diseases.

The most frequent symptom of pleurisy is a sharp chest pain. Sometimes it spreads to the back and will worsen with breathing and coughing or sneezing. Additional symptoms could include shallow breathing or shortness of breath, a cough, fever, sore throat and even loss of weight. The varying symptoms will depend upon the underlying cause. Identifying this cause is very important in treatment to make sure that the correct steps are taken. Most commonly, patients will be given chest x-rays, CT scans, blood tests and ultrasounds. If cancer is a consideration, a biopsy may be done.

Treating pleurisy means also treating its cause. Many times a draining of the fluid will be attempted. Infected fluid will be treated with antibiotics or antifungal agents. Ibuprofen is most often prescribed. While treatment is taking place it is vital to keep coughing regularly to clear away mucus from the lungs. Mucus that is not cleared away could accumulate and lead to a case of pneumonia. Adequate sleep is also important to help the healing process.

Further complications as well as death are always a concern if pleurisy is not treated properly and as soon as possible. Several noted pleurisy related deaths are documented throughout history. Benjamin Franklin was a victim of it and died at 84. William Henry Harrison, 9th president of the United States died from pleurisy that developed from pneumonia after a cold went untreated. He was in office for only 31 days. Other famous related deaths include Charlemagne, Karl Marx, Francis Scott Key and Anna Pavlova. Gladly, medicines and processes for treating pleurisy are effective and readily available.

As hinted at, pleurisy is generally caused by some other serious issue. While sometimes the causing factor cannot be determined, getting to the root of the problem is pivotal to proper care and health.

Like many other forms of cancer, Mesothelioma has different stages. For cancer of the pleura pleural mesothelioma, a lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Later on, the doctors studied the fact linking mesothelioma cancers to asbestos exposure.J.C. malignant pleural

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