ZocdocAnswersWhy do I have chest pain when I breathe in?

Question

Why do I have chest pain when I breathe in?

I am 33 w HBP. It hurts to breathe in, this only strated today so I haven't taken anything for it. I have HBP & just tested positive for TB.

Answer

There are many causes for chest pain including the ones you mentioned such as a TB infection. Pleuritic pain or pain on breathing is usually due to inflammation of the pleural cavity. This is a potential space like a collapsed balloon wrap around your entire lungs. A number of problems can lead to inflammation and thus pain of this space including infection from virus, bacteria such as TB, fungi, or immunologic reaction such as rheumatic diseases. A person can also get pleuritic pain from pneumonia, pneumothorax (air in this potential sac), pleural effusion (fluid accumulation in the potential sac), or tumors. It is necessary to get a physical exam by a physician followed by potential imagings like a chest x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or an MRI to further characterize the cause. Sometimes it only takes a chest x-ray, and perhaps a fluid sample, or biopsy of the pleura to get the diagnosis. A pleural effusion analysis can often tell you a lot about the condition, but a biopsy is sometimes necessary when other tests do not give a conclusive answer. Often, TB can be very difficult to grow so it is not uncommon that the culture may just show up negative. I would suggest that you visit a primary care doctor soon who needs to figure out what makes the most likely diagnosis and order the tests accordingly. Chest pain is not something to ignore.

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