Treatment for Water in the Lungs

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ithorax x-ray of the lungs image by JoLin from

The Mayo Clinic defines water in the lungs, or pulmonary edema, as "...increased pressure in the blood vessels in your lungs (which) forces fluid into the air sacs, preventing them from absorbing oxygen..." Pulmonary edema can be caused by a variety of diseases, including heart problems, pneumonia and infections. Pulmonary edema is a serious condition, and understanding how to treat the condition is important and can save the lives of those suffering from this unfortunate condition. Pulmonary edema needs immediate medical attention.

Define What Caused Pulmonary Edema

It is important to know what caused water in the lungs. It is a condition that occurs in tandem with other health issues. Heart problems are the most common cause of pulmonary edema, with congestive heart failure being the most common of these heart issues. Another common cause is pneumonia. It is important to treat these diseases as well as the pulmonary edema.

Give Oxygen

It is important to give oxygen to the patient. The water in the lungs makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the patient to breath. Oxygen can be given through a face mask or in prongs placed in the nose. If the condition is serious enough to merit it, a breathing tube may be placed in the windpipe, but it is best to avoid such an invasive treatment if possible. A ventilator, or breathing machine, may be necessary.

Water Pills

Sometimes it may be possible to simply use pills to treat water in the lungs. Water pills, or diuretics, help the excess water in the lungs leave the body through the urinary tract. These pills are generally used in minor incidents of water in the lungs, as the efficiency of these pills is not perfect, nor is the volume of water they are capable of removing from the lungs.

Restrict Fluid and Sodium

This is a very important and easy step to take. Before pulmonary edema is completely treated, fluid restriction is necessary to avoid creating further complications. Sodium should be avoided entirely as one effect of sodium is the retention of water in the body. Remember, although fluid should be restricted, it is important to keep the patient properly hydrated to avoid dehydration.


Sometimes, pulmonary edema is caused by infections instead of heart disease or pneumonia. In the case of severe infections, antibiotics can be used to treat the infection. Once the infection has been treated, the above treatments should be used to deal with the water in the lungs.