Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin has fluid build-up in chest wall

Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who is known for his fitness, said he has been diagnosed with pleural effusion. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN 
Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who is known for his fitness, said he has been diagnosed with pleural effusion. -- ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN 

SINGAPORE - Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin, who is known for his fitness, said he has been diagnosed with pleural effusion, which refers to the build-up of fluid between the layers of tissue that line the lungs and chest cavity.

Mr Tan, in a Facebook post on Thursday, said he went for a health check-up in the morning after experiencing discomfort in his right chest area for about a week.

 

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"Aches and pains are usually regarded simply as that...aches and pains. But it persisted. I finally concluded that its probably internal. Every deep breath brought with it some discomfort," he wrote.

He said he decided to heed the advice of fellow MP Seah Kian Peng, who underwent an emergency operation to remove his gall bladder earlier this month, to "listen to your body" and went for a checkup on Thursday morning.

"Somehow or other I had fluids building up in the space between my lungs and rib cage. That explained the Pleurisy, the pain that came with each deep breath. The more important question is why it happened? What is the cause? Blood clot? TB? Infection?" he wrote.

His doctor performed a CT scan and extracted fluids for testing, and confirmed that it is not blood.

He added: "Will wait for the outcome. Sounds like an infection? And if so, it should run its course and condition should subside. Life goes on. But this is a useful pause to reflect."

Most cases of pleural effusion are not serious by themselves, but some require treatment to avoid problems.

Possible causes include pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung cancer, according to the website of the National University Heart Centre, Singapore. Some arthritic conditions may also cause inflammation of the pleura - the thin membrane that lines the surface of the lungs and the inside of the chest wall outside the lungs - in addition to joint inflammation.

The type of treatment would depend on the cause. For example, antibiotics may be prescribed if it is caused by lung infection.

Doctors may ask patients to monitor their condition in minor cases that cause no symptoms, or only mild symptoms, said medical resources website Patient.co.uk. Treatment is usually needed only if the condition causes symptoms such as breathlessness.