Pulmonary edema is a condition in which fluid accumulates in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. This can occur when the heart is not able to pump blood effectively, causing a buildup of pressure in the blood vessels of the lungs and allowing fluid to leak into the air spaces.
Pulmonary edema can be caused by a variety of factors, including heart failure, kidney failure, lung diseases, and certain medications. It can also be a complication of certain medical procedures, such as open-heart surgery, or a result of high altitude sickness.
The symptoms of pulmonary edema include shortness of breath, especially during physical activity or lying flat, rapid breathing, chest pain, cough, and wheezing. In severe cases, the affected person may also experience fatigue, confusion, and a feeling of suffocation.
Treatment for pulmonary edema depends on the underlying cause and may include medications to improve heart function and reduce fluid buildup, supplemental oxygen, and in severe cases, mechanical ventilation. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing salt intake, can help to improve heart function and prevent the recurrence of pulmonary edema.
If you suspect that you have pulmonary edema, it’s important to seek emergency medical attention as soon as possible, as it can be a life-threatening condition. Early treatment can help to prevent further damage to the lungs and improve the chances of a full recovery.