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Fibro and Pleurisy?

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Old 10-19-2005, 07:33 AM   #1
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mindutopia HB User
Fibro and Pleurisy?

Is there any connection between Fibro and Pleurisy? I have had fibro for about 3-5 years (depending on when you start counting) and am 25. I just found out a couple months ago that I have pleurisy and apparently have had it (with symptoms flaring up 1-2 days per month - sharp searing heart attack like chest pain with every breath) for 10 years. All my doctors are astonished that anyone could have had it that long (I was always told it was just heart burn, so I never thought to get it checked til it became all but debilitating in early September). Usually a person gets pleurisy after having a bad case of bronchitis or pneumonia which ends up causing an infection or inflammation the lining around the lung, but it is supposed to go away after the illness itself does. All my doctors tell me that anyone who has had pleurisy that long should be concerned about an auto-immune disease because there is just no other explanation. They've never even seem someone who's had it as long as I have. I've been tested for auto-immune diseases a million times (well, about 4 times) and so far all my blood work has been normal (we all know what that is like!). I usually just ascribe these weird health problems to the fibro, so I was curious if anyone else has also had problems with pleurisy and if there is any known connection between fibro and pleurisy. I know we tend to get costo a lot, but I know this isn't that. Your thoughts would be appreciated.


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Old 10-19-2005, 08:42 AM   #2
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Re: Fibro and Pleurisy?

Karen -

I am not sure about a connection, but I also have had the same thing for probably at least 10 years and always thought it was heartburn, but is only when I breathe in and it is sporadic. But it is very sharp and sometimes I am unable to take a full breath until it passes around 10 minutes. It's either on the left or right side of my chest, not the middle.

I was diagnosed with fibro about 9 months ago, but am unconvinced that I have it, as most of my symptoms don't match. My blood tests have also come back negative. The only thing that showed up was carpal tunnel in both hands and chronic gastritis. I also have red spots on my hands, face and a good portion of my body. Much of my pain feels nerve related, not in the muscle.

I'll let you know if I find anything else out. I am 33 years old.

Thanks, Nancy

Old 10-19-2005, 09:57 AM   #3
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Re: Fibro and Pleurisy?


Yes, that's how mine started as well. One day I just noticed aching, tingly pain in my left forearm and wrist. Went to the doctor because I thought I must have carpal tunnel. They diagnosed it as tendonitis because none of the carpal tunnel tests came out positive and put me on vioxx. The vioxx didn't seem to work but eventually it just went away on its own. Then several months later the same thing came back in both forearms and wrists. It was much worse this time. On bad days, I couldn't even carry groceries in from the car or get the top of the toothpaste off in the morning because my hands became sore and weak. Again they put me on an anti-inflammatory, this time celebrex. That didn't do much good either. My PCP eventually told me she thought I was imagining it (so nice, huh?). Fortunately, I had a wonderful chiropractor who recognized immediately that it might be fibro because after the pain came back in both wrists, I also had really bad fatigue and the typical 'fibro fog'. I would lose whole chunks of time at work and in class just totally spaced out, a person could be sitting right next to me talking and I would not even notice they were talking to me. I would also find myself spacing out while driving and missing my highway exit. My chiro sent me to a PCP she works with on a lot of chronic pain patients and she was wonderful! She didn't officially diagnose me because I didn't have the tender points (still don't), but started me on meds (amitriptyline and neurontin) that made a noticeable difference in the pain in my hands and eventually in pain that started in my upper back, and also with the fatigue/fog. At the time, she called what I had a 'fibro-like syndrome' because I didn't have the other common signgs, like IBS or pain in my lower body. Since then, it's definitely progressed...weird phantom pains in my left leg after knee surgery, like things crawling and scratching on me and the sunburn feelings I've seen people on here talk about, also now I have plantar fascitis in my right foot and pain/tightness in right calf. I also have hypermobile joints which confounds it all as well. I agree, like you, I didn't really feel like I fit into the experiences that other people with fibro shared. Now as three years have past and I've had lots of other strange things that have come up, I'm starting to see how it all fits together and I find out all the time that something that's been happening to me (like more recently itching and hives for no obvious reason that don't respond to any treatment) are actually symptoms that others living with fibro also share. Some days it's actually quite freaky to hear how similar others experiences are to my own, like when you said yours started in your wrists. Just a thought, have you been tested for lupus? I know that fibro and lupus are similar symptomatically in a lot of ways. Pleurisy is a common symptom of lupus, along with the hives and itchy bumps we are both experiencing. I've been tested several times with all normal bloodwork, but I know I'm still suspicious of lupus because everytime I see a new doctor, they look at my list of symptoms and bring up lupus again. Just thought I'd throw that out there since you are having pleurisy and the red spots. Have your doctors considered shingles for the spots as well? Just wondering. Hope that helps and hope you are doing well.

Take care,

Old 10-22-2005, 05:24 AM   #4
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Re: Fibro and Pleurisy?

Hello There,

I have only just come across these post regarding pleurisy. I have had frequent bouts of this but as I have SLE and have done for over 30 years, it has always been put down to it being a symptom of this. This is not a medical viewpoint, only a patient's input.

Pleurisy is common in lupus - estimates vary between 30 and 60% of all patients at some time suffering from inflammation of the lining of the chest. The symptom is pain - often a 'catching' pain on taking a deep breath. More severe forms of inflammation and pleurisy produce fluid, so-called pleural effusions. Any fluid in the chest takes useful breathing space away, therefore causing shortness of breath. Pleurisy can be detected clinically and on chest X-ray. Fortunately, it usually responds rapidly to a short course of steroids.

This does not mean that it only occurs when there is an underlying illness like lupus, but worth looking into. Have you thought - if you haven't had a definite diagnosis of pleurisy - that it might be inflamed cartilege caused by inflammation of the muscles, caused by fibro? Wow, a bit long winded but I think I got there in the end hee hee !! Even costochondritis gives the same type of symptoms as pleurisy in many ways. Just my thoughts on this.

Hope this is of help.

Take care.

I am not a medical doctor, I only speak from my own experience of the illnesses I discuss here.

Last edited by goldenwings; 10-22-2005 at 05:26 AM.

Old 10-23-2005, 11:15 AM   #5
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mindutopia HB User
Re: Fibro and Pleurisy?


Thanks for your response. I did get a actual diagnosis of pleurisy about a month ago. They put me on inhalers (albuterol and now advair) to "open up my lungs and clear out whatever inflammation was there". I didn't have any other underlying illness, so antibiotics wouldn't have worked. I'm not sure if that's the normal treatment for it, but the inhalers have worked so far. Only one flare up since starting on these and after dealing with it for 10 years, that's amazing to me. So something must be right. I do suspect lupus might be behind all of this, but that it just might take some time for my doctors to find all this out. I do have a lot of the symptoms: joint pain, skin itchiness/rash, pleurisy, and I feel like I get sick a lot (stuffy nose, sore throat, coughing, mucus in my chest, etc.) even when no one else is sick and I don't seem to pass it on to anyone around me. Just seems like my immune system is really touchy. So I'm really not sure what it is, but with the pleurisy, I thought I should at least find out if it's related to fibro in any way. If it doesn't appear to be, I feel like I ought to push the doctors more for further testing for lupus, just to be sure.

Thanks for your help,

Last edited by mindutopia; 10-23-2005 at 11:17 AM.

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