Pulmonary edema

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Pulmonary edema is defined by the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. It can cause difficulty breathing and considered as a serious health condition. If not promptly treated, it can be dangerous.

What is the cause?

Generally, heart disease is the root of pulmonary edema. If diagnosed with heart disease, it increases the blood pressure within the vessels found in the lungs. The elevated pressure drives fluid into the tissues of the lungs as well as the air sacs. Once these sacs are packed with fluid, there is lack of space for air. This results to difficulty breathing and oxygen could not move from the lungs into the bloodstream.

Pulmonary edema
Mild shortness of breath during activity.

The condition might also develop even if an individual has a normal heart. The blood vessels in the lung can become porous and seep fluid into the lungs. This can be brought about by various conditions such as severe infections, lung injuries, blood transfusions or cancer.

What are the indications?

The initial signs of pulmonary edema might include:

  • Coughing
  • Mild shortness of breath during activity
  • Difficulty lying flat in bed
  • Waking up with shortness of breath

Remember that the condition can worsen rapidly. Once it worsens, the signs might include:

  • Anxiety
  • Significant shortness of breath
  • Agitation
  • Frothy sputum
  • Sweating

Management of pulmonary edema

The main issue of concern is that the lungs could not deliver adequate oxygen the body. The individual is also given oxygen which might be pumped into the lungs with a ventilator.

Fluid is eliminated from the lungs with a shot of diuretic. This drug helps get rid of water via urination. Once the lung blood pressure and fluids lessen, extra oxygen is no longer needed, and the individual can be taken off the ventilator. In addition, the individual is given drugs such as morphine and nitroglycerin.

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