Heart problems, pneumonia, living at high altitudes, lung infections, smoke inhalation, and some toxins can cause fluid in the lungs. Some medication causes danger of fluid on lungs. Fluid in the lungs causes the lungs not to be able to intake the full amount of oxygen.
Lungs filled with fluid become stiffer and dense like a wet sponge. The danger of fluid in the lungs is that the fluid blocks the oxygen from penetrating the air sacs of the lungs. The fluid also interferes with the lung’s ability to release carbon dioxide. The heart and other organs of the body may not get the oxygen that they need.
The impaired functioning of the lungs due to fluid is a serious condition. Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) occurs when a person has fluid in both lungs due to a critical injury or illness. Other possible causes of acute repiratory distress syndrome includes injury to the lungs from inhaling vomit, drug overdose, traumatic injury, inflamed pancreas, or a severe injury that caused the person to go into shock.
The fluid inhibits the lungs from being able to function normally. With ARDS, the air sacs of the lungs collapse or fill with fluid due to damaged capillaries of the lungs. This stops the air sacs from being able to fill with oxygen. Without this oxygen, the oxygen level in the blood plummets.
Pulmonary edema is caused by fluid collecting in the air sacs of the lungs. The person may struggle to breathe. Heart problems are the most common cause of pulmonary edema. Cardiac pulmonary edema is also called congestive heart failure. Pulmonary edema may occur suddenly or gradually. A sudden onset of this condition is a medical emergency. Pulmonary edema can be fatal.
Pulmonary edema causes wheezing, coughing, excessive sweating, feelings of drowning, chest pain, and heart palpitations. A person coughing from this condition may cough up frothy sputum that may have blood in it. The person may look pale and feel anxious. The person may be gasping for breath.
Supplemental oxygen may be given as part of the treatment for fluid in the lungs. Medication may also be prescribed. People who are critically ill with acute respiratory distress syndrome may be put on a ventilator. Due to advances in care in critical care units of hospitals, about seventy percent of people with ARDS survive. Only forty percent of the people with this condition survived in the past.