Q:

Why does it hurt to breathe on the right side?

A:

Quick Answer

Painful breathing on the right side of the chest can indicate pleurisy, pulmonary embolism, pneumonia, pneumothorax, asthma or pulmonary hypertension, according to WebMD. In addition, it may indicate a fractured rib, as stated by HealthLine.

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Full Answer

Recognizing the cause of painful breathing is easier when other symptoms are present.

  • Pleurisy is characterized by breathing that produces a sudden sharp pain upon inhalation. It arises because of bacterial and viral infections that cause the fluidfilled sac around the lung to become inflamed.
  • Pneumonia causes similar pain to pleurisy as well as chest aches.
  • Pulmonary embolism suddenly causes breathing to become painful and difficult. Patients may experience fever, chills and a rapid heart rate.
  • A pneumothorax occurs when something causes the lung to collapse. It produces general pain as well as pain that becomes worse when trying to breathe and low blood pressure.
  • Pulmonary hypertension causes the right side of the heart to work too hard, which means the pain is particularly prevalent on the right. It may be accompanied by high blood pressure.
  • Asthma is a chronic condition that produces painful breathing and wheezing on both sides of the chest from time to time.
  • An injury resulting in painful breathing on the right side may indicate a fracture in the area. This is a medical emergency, which means anyone experiencing those symptoms should visit their emergency room.
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