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Water in the Lungs

Water in the Lungs

The accumulation of fluid or water in the lungs is not a normal occurrence, but a grave health concern. It can happen to anyone irrespective of their age. Find out its causes, symptoms, and treatment, through this article.
Ratnashri Dutta
Last Updated: Jan 27, 2018
This condition is also known as pulmonary edema, which involves the accumulation of fluid in the air spaces and the functional area (parenchyma) of the lungs. This causes respiratory problems, as the presence of the fluid interferes with the normal functions of the organ, and drastically reduces the normal levels of oxygen intake. This in turn, leads to an oxygen shortage throughout all the organs of the body, causing them to stop functioning properly. This gives rise to further health complications as well as various lung diseases.

The lungs are immensely important organs in our system, as all the other bodily functions are directly or indirectly dependent on. If they cannot carry out normal and efficient breathing, enough oxygen is not breathed in. this will lead to improper oxygenation of the blood. This blood will then circulate in the rest of the body. Not only will the internal organs and their function be affected by this, but the brain will suffer the most, since although it makes up only 2% of the body weight it requires 20% of the total blood oxygen. This is due to its high rate of metabolism. If the brain is devoid of oxygen for a prolonged time, it leads to the development of an anoxic state, in which would cause its functions to cease. The anoxic conditions may even lead to the loss of function of certain areas of the brain, which will consequently cause the loss of function in the body part associated with that particular area. This is how grave this situation can get. Hence, in case you notice any symptoms of pulmonary edema, consult a doctor immediately.

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing sound can be heard while breathing
  • Gurgling sound in the chest
  • Fatigue
  • Feels lethargic and complains of weakness
  • Heart rate increases rapidly
  • Chest pain
  • While sleeping, breathing stops for few seconds
  • Constant cough and along with it there is blood tinged sputum
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Feeling of restlessness
  • The person gasps for air and has breathing problems
  • Sensation of drowning
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Wheezing
A person showing these symptoms, should be given immediate medical attention. Otherwise, his skin might turn blue, due to lack of oxygen supply in the body, and he might become unconscious. Sometimes, due to no treatment, the person might also die. Let us examine what gives rise to such a condition.

  • Heart attack
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Leaking or narrowed heart valves
  • Hypertension
  • Pneumonia
  • Certain medicines
  • High altitude exposure
  • Kidney failure
  • Narrowed arteries that bring blood to the kidneys
  • Lung damage
  • Major injury
  • Acute respiratory Distress Syndrome
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Near drowning
Treatment Options

If a case of pulmonary edema is suspected, the affected person must be taken to a hospital immediately. There the person may be given oxygen to breathe through a mask or through nasal tubes. If the person is unable to breathe on their own, a tracheotomy may be done and a breathing tube can be placed in the windpipe, so as to enable breathing with the help of a ventilator. Once the patient is stabilized and is able to breathe, the cause of the condition is investigated.

Depending on the cause, suitable medication is prescribed. For example, in case of a lung infection, antibiotics and other such drugs could be administered. In case of near-drowning, the fluid could be pumped out. Additionally, the patient may also be prescribe diuretics to flush out any and all excess fluid from the body. In the event that this condition is due to a heart attack, medications that strengthen the cardiac muscles, regulate the heartbeat, and relieve hypertension may be prescribed.

Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.