Fluid on the lungs or pulmonary edema can result for several reasons. Typically, though, this type of condition results from congestive heart failure. Because the heart isn’t functioning efficiently, a build-up of pressure results and the veins, which transport blood to the heart, in essence, begin leaking. Therefore, the person who has pulmonary edema or water on the lungs will have trouble breathing as excess fluid accumulates in the air sacs, also known as alveoli. As a result, the lungs are unable to function normally.
As stated, congestive heart failure is usually attributed to fluid accumulating on the lungs but other factors can cause a person to suffer from this condition as well. If a patient has had a severe infection from pneumonia, for instance, then pulmonary edema can be the outcome. In addition, this condition can sometimes be caused by the inhalation of a poisonous gas or substance. Kidney failure can also be blamed for fluid on the lungs.
So, what are the symptoms associated with fluid on the lungs? The main symptoms include heart arrhythmia, rapid breathing and shortness of breath. Any strenuous activity will cause the sufferer discomfort while breathing too. Likewise, the same stress can suddenly occur while the sufferer is lying down. Because the heart is forced to work harder, the lungs must contend with a slower flow of blood through the circulatory system and therefore become less effective too.
Other symptoms that are the result of water on the lungs include edema, anxiety, profuse sweating, a pale or bluish pallor, fatigue and the coughing up of blood. Some people have a hard time conversationally and can’t speak for any duration or length of time.
To ameliorate this condition, the objective of a treatment plan involves eliminating the additional fluid around the lungs while focusing on improving the operation of the heart muscle. Therefore, it’s essential to identify if the condition is the result of a malfunctioning of the heart or from an infection or other cause.
For heart patients, the first order of business is to make sure the heart is stabilized or that an arrhythmia is initially treated.
Certain drugs can help in reducing the fluid build-up such as diuretics. Nitroglycerin is also helpful in this regard. To improve the heart function, sometimes morphine is prescribed. In serious cases, a breathing machine is indicated.
Nonetheless, treatment will not be effective if not combined with an alteration in the patient’s lifestyle. Therefore, if you suffer from pulmonary edema, you should learn to eat more healthily and cut out alcohol and smoking as these habits can exacerbate the problem. Also, because many patients suffer from edema, a reduction in one’s salt or sodium intake is advised.
Because water on the lungs is primarily associated with heart disease, it’s best to stick to a diet that is heart healthy or one that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. By changing the way you eat and living more healthily you can see a substantial improvement with respect to recovery.