Basic Facts About Pulmonary Edema

Have you ever experienced suffering from shortness of breath especially after a tiring motorcycle ride? If you are not experiencing it too often, you could disregard it for something caused by tiredness. However, if you frequently experience this kind of problem even on a normal day, you may already be suffering from a more serious condition called pulmonary edema which is characterized by fluid in lungs. I have been hearing a number of motorcycle riders complaining about shortness of breath and thought that this article may help them identify if the underlying cause of their problem is pulmonary edema.

The word edema means swelling. Swelling normally occurs when some of the fluid seeps out of the blood vessels and go into the surrounding tissues. If this happens in the lungs, it is called pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema occurs when the alveoli is filled up with fluid which then seeps out to the lungs, causing breathing difficulty.

There are several factors that may cause pulmonary edema which can be categorized into heart-related or cardiogenic pulmonary edema and non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema. Cardiogenic causes of pulmonary edema normally occur when, due to the abnormal functioning of the heart, the fluid from the blood vessel seeps out because of high pressure. As for non-cardiogenic causes, they include acute respiratory distress syndrome, kidney failure, brain trauma and overdose of certain illegal drugs and medication such as aspirin. Rapid ascent in high altitude of 10,000 feet or more may also cause this problem. This is especially true among mountain climbers.

Aside from shortness of breath, there are other noticeable symptoms of pulmonary edema. It is important that you should note it down so that you can differentiate whether your shortness of breath is just normal or is caused by this condition. Among the other symptoms are fatigue, rapid breathing, weakness, dizziness, and when shortness of breath is more rapid than normal.

If you are experiencing any or a combination of these symptoms, it is best to visit your doctor at the soonest time possible for proper diagnosis. To confirm pulmonary edema, your doctor may listen to the abnormal sounds in your lungs through a stethoscope. There are normally crackles or short bubbling sounds in the lungs when a person has pulmonary edema. In most cases of pulmonary edema, hospitalization is required to treat the underlying cause. Sometimes, a routine follow-up checkup may also be recommended especially in acute cases. Treatment normally varies depending on the underlying cause, but more commonly, it involves giving the patient medications such as natural antihistamines if the underlying cause is infection, as well as supplemental oxygen.

One important point to remember about pulmonary edema is that if the symptoms develop suddenly, your condition needs immediate medical attention. This can be a case of acute pulmonary edema which can be fatal if not treated as soon as possible. That is why if you feel any shortness of breath associated with fatigue or weakness, do not disregard this condition. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to overcome this problem.


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