Lungs are the organs in the body that takes in oxygen and removes the carbon dioxide from the blood. The blood from the heart is brought to the lungs through the veins and then oxygenated blood is taken back to the heart. The air sacs in the lungs help in the exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen.
Pulmonary Edema is when there is water in the tiny air sacs of the lungs resulting in the lack of oxygen supply to the blood and excessive build-up of carbon dioxide. When there is such a condition then the person experiences breathlessness, pink frothy sputum, anxiety, headache and fluid retention.
Circulatory problems develop after a heart attack or when the left ventricle is severely damaged, then blood does not reach the lungs. This causes less oxygenated blood reaching the other parts of the body, this condition is called cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Cardiogenic pulmonary edema is caused due to malfunction of the heart, hypertension, heart attack in which left ventricular failure happens, excessive fluid in the body or congestive heart failure.
When the lung tissues are injured it can cause pulmonary edema. The third type of edema is high altitude pulmonary edema which develops when a person visits high altitudes.
People experiencing these symptoms should immediately contact a doctor. Doctors will do a series of blood tests, ECG, Chest X-rays to understand the pulmonary edema. Blood tests determine the level of oxygen in the blood, x-rays help to understand whether there is fluid in the lungs, ECG to know whether the person has suffered heart attack.
As there is less oxygen in the blood patients are first given oxygen supply. Breathing tube is placed in the trachea of the patient, some patients are put on ventilator. If there is a circulatory cause for the edema then the patients are given necessary medications to cure this condition. Treatment is essential for pulmonary edema as it is a fatal condition. In some patients the condition can cause coma. Proper treatment is necessary to cure the condition.
People who have conditions that can lead to pulmonary edema should be extra careful. Patients should thoroughly follow the instructions of the doctor to prevent further episodes of edema and keep the situation under control. Proper diet and weight is necessary for preventing development of pulmonary edema.
Anyone who is experiencing even mild symptoms should visit the doctor and get it treated.