Pleural effusion, or what is sometimes called “water on the lungs”, occurs when there is excess fluid built up between the layers of the pleura on the outside of the lungs. The pleura is a thin membrane that lines the surface of your lungs and the inside of your chest wall.
According to the American Thoracic Society, pleural effusions are common, with approximately 1 million cases diagnosed in the United States every year. It’s a serious condition associated with an increased risk of death. In one study, 15 percent of hospitalized people diagnosed with pleural effusions died within 30 days.
The most common causes of pleural effusion are congestive heart failure, cancer, pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism. A person should seek prompt medical help if they experience any of these symptoms. Many people find out they have pleural effusion only when undergoing a test for unrelated conditions. It is also important to note that diagnosis can be complicated as the symptoms of pleural effusion can resemble other lung conditions. The patient may also experience unrelated symptoms from the disease or condition that has caused the effusion.
Treatment of pleural effusion is based on the underlying condition and whether the effusion is causing severe respiratory symptoms, such as shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Diuretics and other heart failure medications are used to treat pleural effusion caused by congestive heart failure or other medical causes. A malignant effusion may also require treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a medication infusion within the chest. A pleural effusion that is causing respiratory symptoms may require draining using therapeutic thoracentesis or a chest tube.
Care.Wallet is a powerful tool that has everything patients may need for successfully managing their health. If experiencing severe respiratory symptoms, a patient can book an appointment with a few clicks directly in the App. If a patient needs a ride to the facility, Care.Wallet has got them covered with a medical transportation solution embedded. If it’s not possible to have an in-office visit, Care.Wallet allows for booking online appointments via Global Telehealth Exchange.
With Care.Wallet the patient doesn’t have to worry about preparing for the appointment, as all their previous medical records are securely stored in his Care.Wallet and can be shared with all members of their care team in real-time. On top of that, Care.Wallet allows for symptom recording and management. Armed with all necessary the information, medical professionals can better evaluate the health condition of the patient and diagnose the problem. Prescriptions and referrals can be easily managed within the App as well. Care.Wallet has a comprehensive feedback function, called “How Are You Feeling Today” (HAYFT) Cards, that allow the patient to stay in touch with their care provider and report any changes to their health condition. In addition the Care.Circle functionality provides an opportunity for the patient to have health information exchanged between all care professionals involved in their treatment. Family and friends can be invited to join a Care.Circle as well to support the patient in their recovery and stay updated about their current health situation.
Care.Wallet is a powerful health management tool designed to offer a new improved standard of care and will improve the way healthcare works by putting patients in control of their health management. If you enjoyed this article, do take a look at our previous article Rheumatoid Arthritis in New Zealand.