Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary edema is the accumulation of fluid in the lungs’ air sacs which makes breathing difficult and may lead to respiratory failure. Other symptoms include coughing, chest pain, and decreased tolerance to physical activities. This condition is often caused by the heart’s being unable to cope with the body’s demands. Other causes include pneumonia, blood infection, kidney failure, liver cirrhosis, drug overdose, living at a high altitude, brain injuries, blood transfusion, and exposure to chemicals. It may be acute or chronic; acute pulmonary edema has a sudden onset which requires immediate medical attention. This is characterized by cough with pink frothy sputum, anxiety, excessive sweating, feeling of suffocation, chest pain, wheezing, heart palpitations, pale skin, and chest pain.

Chronic pulmonary edema is less severe with a gradual onset. The typical symptoms include swelling of legs or feet, weight gain, sudden breathlessness at night, fatigue, difficulty breathing when lying flat and exercising.

Pulmonary edema may be prevented by having a healthy lifestyle. Keeping your cholesterol levels under control, being able to manage stress, not smoking, and limiting salt can prevent cardiovascular diseases which is the leading cause of this condition. The treatments include oxygen therapy, medications (diuretics, morphine, and/or blood pressure medications), and lifestyle changes.

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