Related Lung Conditions
Sprinkle or dump salt on your food and inevitably you will have a reaction. You retain water or excess fluid appears in areas of your body that you prefer not to witness. Now when it comes to excess fluid occurring in your lungs, you might not be able to readily see but you certainly experience the effect. The fluid builds up in the lung’s microscopic air sacs and as a result, no surprise, it is difficult to breathe. This occurrence is a lung condition known as pulmonary edema.
Why Does Pulmonary Edema Occur?
Most people who develop pulmonary edema can trace back the cause to an issue with his or her heart. Other factors that can prompt fluid to increase in the lungs are pneumonia, living or exercising at high altitudes, chest trauma and exposure to some medications and toxins.
When pulmonary edema happens suddenly, it is called acute pulmonary edema and the individual needs to seek medical treatment as soon as possible. If care can happen quickly the prognosis is good, and even better would to treat the underlying cause of the pulmonary edema.
The symptoms that you should be on the lookout for with acute pulmonary edema are:
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat.
- Shortness of breath that can be described as extreme and becomes worse when you are lying down.
- Productive cough with sputum that appears frothy and tinged with blood.
- Feeling of drowning or suffocating.
Pulmonary edema can also develop over time and be more accurately described as a chronic condition. Symptoms experienced might be as follows:
- Problem breathing with exertion as well as when you are lying down.
- Waking up at night with a feeling of being out of breath, which might be lessened by sitting up in bed.
- Fatigue or feeling tired.
- Swelling in the legs.
If you also have congestive heart failure, rapid weight gain can occur due to the build-up of fluid in your body. What happens with this disease is your heart has a problem pumping blood throughout the body.
How is Pulmonary Edema Diagnosed and Treated?
When determining a diagnosis of pulmonary edema, a physician will need to perform a number of tests as well as determine the cause. First, it is important to listen to the lungs and heart. Red flag sounds would be crackling in the lungs, which are also known as rales, rapid breathing and increased heart rate. Other tests that might be ordered are a chest x-ray, echocardiogram, electrocardiogram and full blood work-up.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the pulmonary edema. Medication to decrease the fluid build-up can be described as well as supplemental oxygen