Lupus 101:Basics-Pleurisy

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A Devil's Brew

Pleurisy occurs when the  membranes that lines the chest cavity and surround your lungs becomes inflamed. Pleurisy causessharp pain, when you breath or bend. 

One layer of the membrane overlies each lung. The other lines the inner chest wall. Except when inflamed the layers are like pieces of  satin rubbing against each other with almost no friction, allowing your lungs to expand and contract when you breathe.

When inflamed, the layers of the pleural membrane in the affected side of your chest rub against each other, producing pain.  Between breaths, you feel almost no pain.

Unfortunately pleurisy is a hallmark of Lupus as well as, many other autoimmune diseases.  What can be done?

The doctor may give you some pills but you suffer through to the end.  I consider myself rather lucky since my pneumonia shots have been up to date, I haven't had pleurisy but do I remember. 

a) It helps to sleep and sit in a semi-reclining position

b) I found a fan helps if it get too hard to breath

c) The Lupus Ladies have also found that a heating pad helps relieve the pressure of that tight band around your chest.  Try not to move any farther than it will reach until the 'band' doesn't remind you every minute.

d) You'll fatigue and exhaust yourself if you do something to cause coughing or the muscles to get tighter.  If you have a coughing fit-all your can do is ride it out and pray you don't sprain something.

e) Deep breaths are for the doctors office.

f) Live in loose clothes-Nothing that you can't put on seated (I lived in shorts and t-shirts one winter-jeans and even sweatpants were out too much).

e) You have to be careful to keep yourself hydrated.  Drink from a bendable straw!  I freeze water in a bottled water bottle that I have finished.  Place it in the refrigerator to unthaw some.  Add a straw.  You can keep it in an old sock or drink holder if you don't want it to thaw rapidly.

f) Cold one minute and hot the next despite the fan is nothing to worry about just keep yourself from getting chilled.

g) You'll feel better but not good for a while.  Fatigue and Exhaustion are just waiting for you to blink. Try to avoid things that will make you cough, try not to lift anything heavier than a pillow for a while, exercise with extreme care-no back bends or front bends either, don't drive unless you have no other choice, keep water with a straw and Kleenexes close by.  (It may help to avoid carbonated beverages).

h) When you feel tired- sit or lay down.  At first work 10-15 min. and rest 10. Later you can lengthen it but try not to go longer 1hr at first.  It takes longer to do things but you aren't a wreck when they are done.  Bend at the knees and forget dusting or vacuuming with anything over 10 pounds until it all goes away or it may just cycle on you.

g) Rewrite grocery list based on how your super market is laid out-if there are motorized shopping carts-Take one! So what if you have  stand to get what you want at least you won't have the clerk ask if you are OK like I had once.  If its going to take more than an hour to shop, go more than one time.  You need to rest even when you are not feeling bad if you are recouping from pleurisy.

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