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      What Are the Risk Factors for Pulmonary Edema?

      What Are the Risk Factors for Pulmonary Edema?

      More than a million Americans are diagnosed with pulmonary edema each year, yet many people don’t know what the condition is or whether they’re at risk for it. At Middle Georgia Vascular Surgery Center in Warner Robins, Georgia, Dr. Allison Burkett provides state-of-the-art, patient-centered treatment aimed at preventing serious consequences.

      Here’s what you should know about pulmonary edema and how to tell if you might be at risk.

      Pulmonary edema: The basics

      Edema is a condition that develops when fluid gets trapped inside your tissues. In pulmonary edema, fluid gets trapped in tiny air sacs inside your lungs, interfering with breathing and making it hard for your organs to get the oxygen they need.

      Pulmonary edema can develop over time, or it can happen quickly (called acute pulmonary edema). In either case, you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to avoid serious problems and even death.

      Symptoms to look for

      Both acute and chronic pulmonary edema can cause symptoms like:

      • Shortness of breath that worsens with activity
      • Problems breathing when lying down
      • Wheezing
      • Rapid weight gain
      • Swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles
      • Fatigue
      • Persistent or worsening cough
      • Tightness in your chest

      Acute pulmonary edema may also cause:

      • Bluish lips or fingernails
      • Anxiety
      • Cold or clammy skin
      • Frothy sputum associated with coughing
      • Irregular heartbeat
      • Weakness

      Acute pulmonary edema is a medical emergency. If you have these symptoms, you should call 9-1-1 right away.

      Risk factors for pulmonary edema

      Most pulmonary edema is caused by an underlying problem with your heart (usually congestive heart failure). This type of pulmonary edema is called cardiogenic pulmonary edema. When pulmonary edema isn’t related to a heart condition, it’s called non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema.

      In addition to heart-related causes, other common risk factors for pulmonary edema include:

      • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
      • Kidney disease or kidney failure
      • Obesity
      • Diabetes
      • Severe asthma
      • Pneumonia
      • Lung infection
      • Sepsis (widespread infection) or blood infection
      • Smoke or toxin inhalation
      • Illicit drug use or overdose
      • Alcohol abuse
      • Exposure to high altitudes
      • Near drowning
      • Severe trauma or injury

      That’s a lot of risk factors. The most important thing to remember is to schedule an evaluation if you have any symptoms of pulmonary edema and to make sure you provide Dr. Burkett with a complete medical history to help identify potential issues that could increase your risk.

      Early treatment is essential

      Pulmonary edema can be treated, but getting prompt medical care is the key to achieving optimal results. If you have symptoms of pulmonary edema, or if you have risk factors and want to learn how to avoid more serious problems, Dr. Burkett can help.

      Call our office or book an appointment online today to get the care you need to stay healthy.

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