Water in the lung is a health problem known scientifically as pulmonary edema, which happens when the pulmonary alveoli become filled with fluid, due to other diseases not properly treated, such as heart failure or respiratory infections, for example.
Since the excess of fluid in the lungs makes breathing difficult and reduces the entry of oxygen into the body, water in the lungs can be life-threatening, so it is advisable to go quickly to the emergency room when symptoms arise such as breathing, wheezing or persistent coughing up blood.
The water in the lung is curable, however, treatment should be started as soon as possible to prevent oxygen levels in the body from falling too low and putting lives at risk. Understand how lung water treatment is done .
Depending on the cause of the pulmonary edema, the symptoms may appear over time or appear suddenly. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing, which worsens when lying down;
- Feeling of suffocation or drowning;
- Intense wheezing when breathing;
- Cough with discharge that may contain blood;
- Severe chest pain;
- Very easy tiredness;
- Swelling of the legs or feet.
When more than one of these symptoms appear, it is advisable to call medical help, calling 192, or go immediately to the emergency department of a hospital, to have an X-ray of the chest, confirm the diagnosis and quickly start the treatment, to avoid serious complications that can cause death.
How to confirm the diagnosis
In most cases, to confirm the diagnosis of pulmonary edema, the doctor analyzes the signs and symptoms, as well as the history of previous diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes or infarction. The physical examination is extremely important to arrive at the diagnosis, and during this examination, the doctor must auscultate the chest, look for swelling in the legs and assess blood pressure.
In addition, it may also be necessary to do an X-ray, electrocardiogram or echocardiography, to define the cause of the water in the lung.
What can cause water in the lung
The most common cases of water in the lung occur when there is cardiovascular disease, such as coronary heart disease, heart failure or high blood pressure, as the heart may stop functioning properly, causing an accumulation of blood in the lung and making it difficult for air to enter.
However, there are other situations that can cause the accumulation of fluids such as:
- Adult respiratory distress syndrome;
- Climb to altitudes above 2400 meters, like climbing a mountain;
- Nervous system problems, such as head trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage or seizure;
- Infections caused by viruses in the lungs;
- Smoke inhalation;
- Almost drowning, especially when water was inhaled.
The problem of water in the lung is more frequent in the elderly, as they have more health changes, but it can also happen in young people or even in children with congenital heart diseases.
Learn more about the possible causes of this problem.
How the treatment is done
Treatment for water in the lungs must be done while in hospital and is usually started with the administration of oxygen through a mask to relieve symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, feeling of drowning and wheezing. In addition, some remedies can be used to eliminate excess fluid such as:
- Diuretic remedies, such as furosemide: help to eliminate excess fluids from the body through urine;
- Heart remedies, such as nitroglycerin: relieves pressure on the arteries of the heart, improving their functioning and preventing the accumulation of blood in the lungs;
- Morphine: is used to relieve the feeling of shortness of breath or severe chest pain;
- High-pressure, fast-acting remedies, such as nitroglycerin: reduce blood pressure, making the heart work easier and preventing the accumulation of fluids.
Due to the effect of drugs to eliminate excess fluids, the doctor may recommend using a bladder probe to quantify the amount of urine that is being eliminated after using the diuretic. See how to properly care for the bladder tube to prevent infections .
In addition to the treatment for pulmonary edema, it is very important to find out the cause and start its appropriate treatment, in order to prevent the problem from recurring.