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What is pulmonary edema?

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Pulmonary edema is when there’s extra fluid in your lungs. This makes it hard to breathe. It’s usually caused by heart problems. If your heart is ill or damaged, it can't pump out enough of the blood it gets from the lungs. When that happens, pressure in the heart builds up and pushes fluid into the lungs’ air sacs, where it doesn’t belong. Breathing problems may happen over time, or they may come all of a sudden. Get medical help right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing that’s worse when you lie down
  • To gasp for breath
  • Feel like you are drowning
  • Have blue or gray skin color
  • Cough up spit that may have blood in it
  • A fast, or irregular heartbeat

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute: “Shortness of Breath.”

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?”

European Society for Cardiology: “Understanding Heart Failure—Shortness of Breath.”

American Heart Association: “Tachycardia/Fast Heart Rate.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pulmonary Edema, Definition”  “Pulmonary Edema, Causes,”  “Pulmonary Edema, Symptoms,”  “Cardiomyopathy.”

Reviewed by James Beckerman on August 8, 2020

SOURCES:

Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart & Vascular Institute: “Shortness of Breath.”

NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Failure?”

European Society for Cardiology: “Understanding Heart Failure—Shortness of Breath.”

American Heart Association: “Tachycardia/Fast Heart Rate.”

Mayo Clinic: “Pulmonary Edema, Definition”  “Pulmonary Edema, Causes,”  “Pulmonary Edema, Symptoms,”  “Cardiomyopathy.”

Reviewed by James Beckerman on August 8, 2020

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What is cardiomyopathy?

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