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Fluid in Lungs

Fluid in lungs, or medically known as pulmonary edema, is a life-threatening condition which features with accumulation of fluid in the lungs. This fluid interferes in exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide causing respiratory failure. Patients suffer from shortness of breath and if left untreated the lethal outcome is inevitable.

By auscultating the lungs of patients who are suffering from pulmonary edema a doctor can hear a bubbling sound that accompanies the breathing pattern. This sound is specific for accumulation of fluid in lung tissue or inside the pleura. There is a difference between the previous two. Namely, pleural effusion is collection of fluid which accumulates inside the pleura while in pulmonary edema fluid accumulates inside alveoli. This is why simple auscultation can only confirm the presence of the fluid but cannot differentiate where the fluid exactly is.

Symptoms of Fluid in Lungs

The symptoms of this medical condition may vary especially in intensity. The most significant thing is to recognize them in the start and to administer appropriate medications as soon as possible.

The first thing a doctor will notice is rapid breathing and shortness of breath. It may sometimes look as if the patients are struggling for breath. Patients are weak and exhausted. Their skin is pale and wet because they sweat a lot. Additional symptom is cough and the mucous may resemble foam with traces of blood.

Anxiety and restlessness are usual consequence since patients are frightened and scared. The situation only gets worse if the patients are trying to lie down. The symptoms may improve in sitting or standing position. The symptoms may be so severe that patients simple cannot talk. And finally, auscultation of the lungs points to bubbling noise which accompanies breathing.

Causes of Fluid in Lungs

The intensity of the symptoms basically depends on how much fluid has accumulated inside the lungs. The alveoli are filled with mucus and fluid which enters from the smallest blood vessels called capillaries.

Pulmonary edema may be a consequence of a variety of medical conditions. It most commonly occurs in heart failure. Even renal failure results in fluid in the lungs. Apart from that it can also accompany different lung infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia or tuberculosis. Another cause of fluid in lungs is allergies.

Inhalation of smoke or other caustic chemicals may lead to pulmonary edema. It can additionally be a side effect of certain medications or narcotics.

Furthermore, fluid in lungs occurs in drowning, hypoalbuminemia, and some autoimmune disease. And this medical condition can also accompany lymphatic insufficiency.

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