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Q: water in the lungs ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: water in the lungs
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: nessa28-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 08 Apr 2005 09:37 PDT
Expires: 08 May 2005 09:37 PDT
Question ID: 506792
my uncle has lunger cancer and yesterday my aunt had to take him to
the hospital because he said he couldn't breathe. turns out he has
water in his lungs. I hear that is really bad but why? and how do you
get water in your lungs?
Subject: Re: water in the lungs
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 08 Apr 2005 10:27 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi nessa28,

Thank you for your question.  I'm sorry to hear about your uncle.

Water in the lungs can be called: 
Lung/pulmonary congestion, Congestive heart failure, Lung water, Pulmonary edema 

Edema is swelling of any organ or tissue due to accumulation of excess
fluid. Edema has many root causes, but its common mechanism is
accumulation of fluid into the tissues.


Pulmonary edema


"Your lungs are two spongy organs surrounded by a moist membrane (the
pleura). Stretched out, they would cover about 100 square yards ? the
size of a badminton court. Although your lungs can hold up to 4 quarts
of air, you generally inhale only about a pint of air with each

Two major airways (bronchi) carry air into your lungs. These airways
subdivide into smaller airways (bronchioles) that finally end in
clusters of tiny air sacs. Your lungs have about 300 million of these
air sac clusters, which inflate like miniature balloons every time you

Wrapped around each air sac are tiny capillaries that connect the
arteries and veins in your lungs. The capillaries are so narrow that
red blood cells have to pass through them in single file. Each red
blood cell absorbs oxygen, while the plasma ? the fluid containing the
red blood cells ? releases carbon dioxide.

But in certain circumstances the alveoli fill with fluid instead of
air, preventing oxygen from being absorbed into your bloodstream. A
number of factors can cause fluid to accumulate in your lungs, but
most have to do with your heart (cardiac pulmonary edema).
Understanding the relationship between your heart and lungs can help
explain why."

(see rest of article)


How do the lungs work?

"The lungs are a pair of sponge-like organs, which are located inside
the rib cage. The right lung has three sections, called lobes, and the
left lung has two. The airways are a series of hollow tubes, which
allow oxygen to enter into the lung tissue as we breathe.

As you breathe in, oxygen enters the windpipe (trachea), goes through
the airways (bronchus and bronchioles) and into small sacs called
alveoli. The alveoli are surrounded by blood vessels. The oxygen
crosses into the bloodstream from the alveoli and is then carried to
the rest of the body. Oxygen is needed to allow cells in our body to
function normally. The heart pumps the blood, which carries the

The area in between the lungs is called the mediastinum. Lymph nodes,
the heart, large blood vessels, the trachea (windpipe) and the
esophagus (food pipe) are located here.

A thin membrane covers the surface of the lungs and is called the
visceral pleura. A membrane also lines the chest wall and is called
the parietal pleura. These membranes allow the lungs to slide as we
breathe in and out.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels, which filter bacteria
and other foreign material, in order to help fight infection or
disease. Tumor cells can spread (metastasize) through the blood
vessels and lymphatic system. Lymph nodes are a part of the lymphatic
system. They are nodules along the vessels of the lymphatic system
that filter germs and other foreign material such as cancer cells.
These nodes swell when cells become trapped.


"Symptoms of pulmonary edema include difficulty breathing, coughing up
blood, excessive sweating, anxiety and pale skin. If left untreated,
it can lead to death, generally due to its main complication of acute
respiratory shock syndrome."


Pulmonary definition

relating to, functioning like, or associated with the lungs


Causes, incidence, and risk factors: 

"Pulmonary edema is usually caused by heart failure that results in
increased pressure in the pulmonary (lung) veins. However, problems
within the lungs themselves can also result in fluid accumulation.

Pulmonary edema can be a complication of a heart attack, leaking or
narrowed heart valves (mitral or aortic valves), or any disease of the
heart that either results in weakening and/or stiffening of the heart
muscle (cardiomyopathy). The failing heart transmits its increased
pressure to the lung veins. As pressure in the lung veins rises, fluid
is pushed into the air spaces (alveoli). This fluid then becomes a
barrier to normal oxygen exchange, resulting in shortness of breath.

Pulmonary edema can also be caused by direct lung injury from toxins
including heat and poisonous gas, severe infection, or an excess of
body fluid as seen in kidney failure."
Because this cancer starts in hormone producing cells in the lung, it
can cause unique sodium and water problems. For example, tumor cells
may secrete adrenocorticotropic hormone, causing Cushing's disease.
Tumors may secrete antidiuretic hormone, leading to water retention
and low sodium, which causes confusion.


Pulmonary Edema Symptoms & Signs

(Click on blue links on the page for more information on the following symptoms)

Shortness of breath 
Difficulty breathing 
Feeling of "air hunger" or "drowning" 
Grunting or gurgling sounds with breathing 
Shortness of breath with lying down, causing the patient to sleep with
head propped up or using extra pillows
Excessive sweating 
Pale skin 
Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease: 
Nasal flaring
Coughing up blood
Inability to speak from air hunger
Decrease in level of awareness

Best regards,
nessa28-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $2.00
i found the answer to be informative and well researched.
Thank you

Subject: Re: water in the lungs
From: tlspiegel-ga on 08 Apr 2005 16:56 PDT
Hi nessa28,

Thank you for the comments and tip. :)

Best regards,

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