Pulmonary edema is characterized by fluid filling the lungs. Once this transpires, the body fights to acquire sufficient oxygen. The usual cause for pulmonary edema is no other than congestive heart failure.
Once pulmonary edema develops, the heart has to strain to drive blood throughout the body. This places more pressure on the small blood vessels of the lungs. The vessels release fluid into the lungs to relieve the growing pressure.
Generally, the lungs are responsible for obtaining oxygen from the air breathed in and placing the oxygen into the bloodstream. Nevertheless, if the lungs are occupied with fluid, they could not perform this task. In pulmonary edema, the lungs could not add oxygen to the bloodstream and the entire body is deprived of it.
The doctor removes fluid from the lungs. If the fluid could not be removed and allowed to accumulate, the individual will literally drown. The treatment for the cause is essential for full recovery.
Potential risk factors
Individuals who have heart problems or heart failure face the highest risk for developing pulmonary edema. Other factors that can put an individual at risk include the following:
- Previous history of pulmonary edema
- Vascular disorders
- History of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) or tuberculosis
What are the causes of pulmonary edema?
Remember that the usual cause of pulmonary edema is congestive heart failure. Nevertheless, there are other uncommon medical conditions that can cause the condition such as the following:
- Heart attack or other heart conditions
- Sudden high blood pressure
- Narrowed, leaking or impaired heart valves
- Kidney failure
- Severe case of sepsis
- Lung damage
Aside from the medical conditions, the condition can also be caused by other exterior factors that place added pressure on the lungs and the heart such as the following:
- Severe trauma
- High altitude
- Major injury
- Using prohibited drugs or overdose
- Lung damage
- Near drowning
Indications of pulmonary edema
It is important to note that blood is filled with oxygen. It is transported all over the body to all the bodily organs and tissues. If pulmonary edema develops, the lungs are filled with fluid. As the fluid continues to accumulates, the body struggles to acquire oxygen. The symptoms grow progressively worse until the fluid is removed.
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sweating
- Coughing up blood
- Leg swelling
- Diminished level of alertness
- Erratic heart rate
The severe symptoms might include shock, respiratory failure and even death of the organs due to the lack of oxygen.