Fluid in the lungs occurs when the lungs are filled with excessive amounts of fluid. This could either occur inside the small air sacs or outside the small air sacs of the lungs. Fluid in the lung is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. People with lungs filled with fluid may exhibit different symptoms depending on the underlying medical problem suffered by the individual.
The treatment for fluid in the lungs helps patients by improving the symptoms that come with a fluid-filled lung. Because it may occur due to a variety of health problems, the treatment plan is tailored according to the specific needs of the individual based on accurate and comprehensive diagnosis of the condition.
What is fluid in the lungs?
Fluid in the lungs can refer to two different conditions which give a characteristic manifestation of bubbling sound inside the lungs that comes with the breathing pattern of an individual. The fluid that accumulates in the lungs may be different from one person to another, but the associated symptoms are virtually the same. The fluid buildup may occur inside or outside the lungs, and both conditions call for immediate medical attention due to their gravity.
What causes fluid in the lungs ?
Fluid may get into the lungs as a result of insufficient proteins in the bloodstream or too much pressure in the blood. Fluid in the lungs is often associated with a developing heart complication which gives rise to the sudden flow of large amounts of fluid to enter the lungs. The fluid that enters the lungs may differ from person to person. Some people may suffer from the accumulation of pus or blood in the lungs, while others suffer from phlegm or mucus accumulation in the lungs. Still, some people may be ill from lung water accumulation. Regardless of the fluid that amasses inside the lungs, sufferers may exhibit just about the same signs and symptoms. This is because the fluid accumulation blocks the air passage to the lungs through the respiratory tract and significantly cuts off the oxygen supply.
When does fluid in the lungs occur?
Fluid in the lungs may happen due to a variety of medical conditions, and some of these are:
- Pulmonary edema
This medical condition occurs when the function of the heart is impaired which then strains the pulmonary veins. The blood traveling in the opposite direction puts too much pressure on the veins, so it will start to leak. And as it passes through the lungs, the fluids will come out and enter the alveoli.
- Pleural effusion
Pleural effusion occurs when the fluid accumulates within the pleural cavity, which is outside the air sacs of the lungs. The fluid buildup in the pleural cavity of the lungs may occur due to several medical conditions, the most common of which is pneumonia. This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the lungs caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses. When these microbes enter the lungs, they flourish in the alveoli. As the body’s way of getting rid of the infection, it creates fluid and pus which will then fill the alveoli and block the flow of oxygen to the blood.
- Kidney problems
Fluid in the lungs may also transpire as a result of kidney problems. The kidney is responsible for purifying the blood and regulating the level of sodium in the body and removing fluid through urine. High sodium levels results in edema which may occur in virtually any body parts such as the lungs.
Certain conditions may result in the accumulation of fluid in the lungs, and these are:
- Exposure to toxic gases
The lungs cannot tolerate toxic gases which irritate them resulting to pulmonary edema and inflamed lungs.
- Climbing too high altitudes
Rising to higher altitudes reduces the air pressure and oxygen level in the body which strains the pulmonary arteries. This may coerce the pulmonary arteries to pour fluid into the lungs.
Fluid in lungs symptoms
People with fluid in the lungs will experience the following signs and symptoms.
- Breathing difficulties
- Pale skin
- Excessive sweating
These symptoms may get worse if the treatment is delayed, thereby making the patient cough out blood, have bluish sweaty skin, breathe hurriedly and suffer from abnormally rapid heart rate.
Fluid in the lungs treatment
Treatment for fluid in the lungs is aimed to reduce and even remove fluid from the lungs, and this depends upon the underlying cause. Identifying the root cause of fluid retention in the lungs helps the physician plan out and begin the treatment process right away.
Fluid in the lungs should not be taken casually as the patient may die when treatment is delayed. Whether the fluid accumulates inside or outside the lungs, the signs and symptoms that will be shown by the patint are the same. Treatment plans are designed individually according to the underlying cause of fluid in the lungs of the individual.