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What is water on the lungs?

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Quick Answer

Having water in the lungs is a condition called pulmonary edema, which causes difficulty in obtaining oxygen, explains Healthline. Pulmonary edema commonly occurs due to congestive heart failure, in which the heart fails to pump sufficient amounts of blood to different parts of the body.

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Full Answer

Because of heart failure, the heart requires more effort to pump blood throughout the body, adding more pressure on the small blood vessels of the lungs, states Healthline. These vessels release liquid into the lungs to reduce the increasing pressure. The lungs normally obtain oxygen from the air a person breathes in and transfers the oxygen into the bloodstream. But once they become loaded with water, the lungs stop working properly and cause the body to suffer lack of oxygen.

Other potential causes of pulmonary edema include heart disease, kidney failure, pneumonia, sudden high blood pressure and damaged heart valves, according to Healthline. Pancreatitis, lung damage resulting from severe infection, and serious blood poisoning due to infection are also possible causes. People with pulmonary edema commonly experience shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing or too much sweating.

Prompt treatment is essential in treating pulmonary edema, and severe cases require treatment in intensive care, notes Healthline. To get rid of the fluid, doctors may use diuretics, heart medications, surgery or aspiration, which involves sucking fluid from the lungs by inserting a tube into the throat.

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