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Water In The Lungs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Water In The Lungs: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

The accumulation of water or abnormal fluid in the lungs is a condition that is medically called pulmonary edema. Causes a difficulty in breathing and is a medical emergency when it occurs suddenly, because not treat it urgently can lead to serious complications and even be fatal. In general, the pooling of lungs occurs due to heart problems, although in some cases it can also be due to other causes, such as infections, high altitudes, damage to the lungs, taking medicines or drugs, etc. For its treatment, it is necessary the administration of oxygen, the identification and treatment of the underlying disease and the use of some medications. In the following article, we will explain in detail what are the symptoms, causes and treatment of water in the lungs.



Water in the lungs: causes

The abnormal accumulation of water in the lungs can happen for different reasons, and among these are those listed below:


Congestive heart failure:

This is the most common cause of water in the lungs. When the left side of the heart, which is responsible for pumping the oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body, does not pump the blood from the lungs efficiently, congestion may occur, that is, blood pooling in the lungs. the pulmonary vessels causing, therefore, that the blood pressure of those vessels increase and, consequently, that the liquid is pushed towards the alveoli and the overflow of water occurs. Congestive heart failure can be caused by the following diseases or conditions:

  • Acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Disease in the valves of the left heart such as, for example, aortic stenosis or mitral stenosis.
  • Sudden and severe rise in blood pressure.
Water in lungs
Water in lungs

Other causes of water in the lungs

Although the former is the most frequent cause, pulmonary edema can also be caused by:

  • Renal insufficiency.
  • Pulmonary infections
  • Consumption of some drugs and drugs.
  • Altitudes above 2,500 meters.
  • Neurological injuries, such as cerebral hemorrhage, cranial trauma, seizures, etc.
  • Damage to the lung caused by inhalation toxic gas.
  • Drowning



Water symptoms in the lungs

Depending on the cause, the symptoms of pulmonary edema may appear slowly or suddenly, in the latter case, it is called acute pulmonary edema. Next, we show what are the most frequent water symptoms in the lungs:

  • Dyspnea or shortness of breath at bedtime.
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: feeling that the air is missing when sleeping that forces you to wake up and get up to breathe deeply.
  • Intolerance to physical efforts.
  • Fatigue and fatigue, even when resting.
  • Swelling of feet and ankles.
  • Harsh sounds or wheezing in the chest when breathing.
  • Difficulty to finish complete sentences when speaking due to not being able to breathe normally.
  • Cough with foamy discharge that may contain blood.
  • Nervousness and / or anxiety
  • Pale skin.
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tachycardia.


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Pulmonary edema: treatment

Pulmonary edema is a medical emergency that must be attended to urgently in a hospital, because it prevents the oxygenation of the blood and not treat it in time, can lead to cardiorespiratory arrest. For the diagnosis, the medical specialist can request the following medical tests:

  • X-ray of the thorax.
  • Blood test.
  • Urine analysis.
  • Electrocardiogram.
  • Echocardiogram.
  • Complete blood count.
  • Oximetry or arterial blood gases.



The treatment of water in the lungs will be carried out in the hospital center and its main objectives are:

  • Reduce venocapillary pressure in order to reduce the pulmonary congestion produced.
  • Administer oxygen to improve pulmonary ventilation.
  • Treatment of the underlying disease that may have resulted in pulmonary edema.


Said medical treatment may include the following:

  • Administration of oxygen to the patient, which is done through a mask or small plastic tubes, called cannulas, placed directly in the nose.
  • In cases of very severe pulmonary edema, the patient can be intubated and connected to a mechanical ventilator.
  • Rapid and immediate treatment of the underlying disease that caused the pulmonary edema.

See also: How to Get Rid of Fluid on The Knee

Water in the lungs
Water in the lungs


Depending on the cause of the water in the lungs and the condition of the patient, the medical specialist may request the administration of some medications such as:

  • Preload reducing drugs: reduce the pressure caused by accumulated fluid. Nitroglycerin and diuretic drugs are usually prescribed to help clear excess fluid. In this case, it may be necessary to place a bladder catheter in the patient to avoid having to constantly get up to go to the bathroom to urinate.
  • Postload reducing drugs: they cause a dilation of the blood vessels and reduce the pressure of the left ventricle of the heart.
  • Drugs to reduce blood pressure: they lower high blood pressure and make heart work easier.
  • Morphine: narcotic that can be administered to combat shortness of breath and the anxiety it causes.

See also: Shortness of Breath and Back Pain


How to remove fluid from the lungs naturally

It is not possible to eliminate water in the lungs naturally, pulmonary edema is a condition that, as we have already mentioned, must be treated urgently by medical specialists. However, there are a series of measures and habits that can help prevent, as far as possible, the conditions or diseases that lead to the pooling of lungs. Next, we show the most important:

  • Eat a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low in salt and fat.
  • Avoid overweight
  • Staying active and exercising regularly, with 30 minutes a day is enough to keep the cardiovascular system in top condition.
  • Avoid smoking. In the following article, we show some good substitutes for tobacco to quit smoking.
  • Do not consume alcohol in excess.
  • Keep blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose levels under control.
  • Control and reduce stress levels.

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