Causes of Fluid in Lungs and Possible Treatments

breathingPulmonary edema is a condition in which excess fluids fill the lungs making it difficult to breathe and, draining the body of sufficient oxygen. This usually results from fluids draining from the blood vessels that network between the lungs and heart. It can also result from an allergic reaction in which the body produces histamine which triggers excess mucus production in the lungs. Although believed to primarily affect senior citizens, it is now common to find young people diagnosed with fluid in lungs.

Causes of pulmonary edema

My interest in this condition sparked after I had to cancel a trip that took me biking in the mountains. I suddenly couldn’t breathe well on the first day and had this painful cough that was accompanied by clear mucus. After diagnosis, my doctor prescribed diuretics which were meant to clear fluids which had accumulated in my lungs. It was a scary encounter and I decided to find out some of the causes of this condition and possible treatments.

Like I mentioned, I was to cycle in high altitudes when pulmonary edema suddenly caught up with me. High altitude sickness is one of the conditions known to prompt this condition. High altitudes have a low oxygen supply and this can result in the heart working harder to supply oxygen to all organs. This can result in the leakage of fluids from blood vessels in the lungs to create more space for oxygen supply.

Another known cause for the development of fluid in the lungs is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). The condition occurs when the lungs suddenly fill with inflammatory white blood cells and fluid. ARDS is caused by a variety of conditions including direct trauma to the lungs and pneumonia.

Reaction to various drugs including illegal and prescription drugs can also cause pulmonary edema. Such drugs increase toxin levels in the lungs which in turn results in the production of histamine.

Cardiovascular conditions such as heart failure, heart attack and narrowed or leaking blood vessels can also cause pulmonary edema. These conditions exert pressure on the heart to pump more blood to the lungs for oxygenation. To create more space for oxygen, fluids will leak into the lungs making it more difficult to breathe and get more oxygen into the lungs.

Treatment methods

Pulmonary edema can be treated using prescription drugs such as diuretics. These drugs drain the excess fluids from the lungs allowing the patient to breathe more easily.

In severe cases, a tube is inserted in the throat and the excess fluid drawn out of the lungs. This procedure is known as aspiration.

If the condition is linked to heart problems, treatment of the heart condition is recommended. This reverses the pulmonary edema.

In cases where the condition is induced by the production of histamine in the lungs, antihistamines can be prescribed. These counter the action of histamine in the lungs reducing the amount of fluid produced. In less severe cases, the patients can also take foods containing natural antihistamine such as fruits and vegetables.