Water Retention and Breathing Problems: Does Water Retention Affect Breathing?

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Breathing Problems

Water retention occurs in many parts of the body. In the average person, water retention tends to be confined to the legs, feet or ankles. Some cases of water retention can lead to the accumulation of fluid within the lungs. If this happens, it will make it difficult for the individual to breathe and can be a sign of serious cardiovascular problems.

What are Breathing Problems?

Breathing problems can be caused by numerous sources. They may be due to asthma, heart problems or allergies. In the case of water retention, the breathing problem is due to excessive buildup of fluid in the lungs.

Normally, the blood circulates throughout the body without any issues. When the heart is not working correctly, the blood cannot remove fluids and toxins. In serious cases, the fluid may remain within lung tissue. This can make it difficult to breath. In addition, it can lead to a higher incidence of pneumonia or other infections. Other cases of fluid retention may be caused by cirrhosis of the liver, preeclampsia, menopause, kidney failure or premenstrual syndrome.

What Causes Breathing Problems?

There are two kinds of fluid retention that can lead to breathing difficulties. One of the most common types of fluid retention for the lungs is pulmonary edema. In this medical condition, fluid starts to build up within the lungs. Overtime, it will make it harder for the individual to breathe and vigorous exercise may become impossible. If the condition is allowed to continue, it can lead to a higher risk of cardiac arrest or heart failure. Another water retention issue that can cause issues is ascites. Ascites is commonly known as fluid retention within the abdomen. As this condition continues, it causes the abdomen to swell significantly. This swelling and the fluids place more pressure on the surrounding organs. The swelling can squeeze the lungs and make it so that they cannot expand completely. When this happens, it will become difficult to breathe.

What are the Symptoms of Breathing Problems?

One of the most obvious signs of a breathing problem is difficulty drawing a breath. Other signs may include chest pain. When fluid is retained in the abdomen or lungs, the added pressure can lead to chest pain or aches. Often, this type of fluid retention is due to problems with the heart, liver or kidney. It may also be due to a medication like birth control, hypertension drugs, steroids and antidepressants.

Individuals with breathing problems may experience shortness of breath. Known clinically as dyspnea, shortness of breath can be caused by the buildup of fluid in the lungs. If this condition worsens quickly, the individual should schedule an appointment with their doctor to figure out what the problem is.

When the fluid retention is caused by a high sodium intake, the symptoms may change. Normally, the human body has to have a careful balance of fluid and water. If there is too much water, it causes sodium in the blood to be too diluted. When the sodium level is too high, it leads to dehydration and water retention. Symptoms of sodium-related water retention include fatigue, vomiting, muscle weakness and irritability. Other symptoms include nausea, loss of consciousness, hallucination and confusion and convulsions.

In severe cases of water retention in the lungs, individuals may feel extreme fatigue and tightness in their chest. They may suffer from shortness of breath, tingling fingers and mental confusion. In addition to a chronic cough, they may also develop a blue color around their lips. If someone experiences any of these symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately. All of these symptoms indicate that there is not enough oxygen in the blood. Without enough oxygen, individuals may suffer from cell death, come or even death.

How Does Water Retention Affect Breathing?

Water retention in the lungs basically takes up the space that oxygen would normally occupy. This means there is less room for oxygen. Individuals may develop shortness of breath or a chronic cough if there is fluid within their lungs.

Which Tests Are Used to Diagnose Breathing Problems?

If the breathing problems are due to fluid retention, the doctor may actually do an ECG or chest X-ray. Since many cases of pulmonary edema are caused by heart problems, the doctor will want to rule that out as a cause. They may also perform blood tests or urine tests to figure out what the underlying medical condition is.

What are the Treatment Options for a Breathing Problem?

When the breathing problem is not serious, individuals may be advised to drink more water in order to reduce fluid retention. They may be told to stay away from sodium and eat healthier. If the fluid retention is caused by a heart problem, they can exercise more frequently in order to strengthen their cardiovascular system.

Problems breathing and fluid retention in the lungs are extremely serious problems. Even if someone is still able to breathe, it indicates that there may be a serious heart condition present. To treat the condition, they should visit a qualified medical practitioner for advice.


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