9 Symptoms of water in the lungs (and how to confirm)

9 Symptoms of water in the lungs (and how to confirm)


Water in the lungs can cause shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, in some cases, noisy breathing, swelling in the legs or feet, tightness in the chest and purplish mucous membranes, for example.

Water in the lungs, also known as pulmonary edema, is characterized by the presence of liquid inside the lungs, which impedes gas exchange. Pulmonary edema can happen mainly due to heart problems, but it can also be due to drowning, lung infections, exposure to toxins or smoke, and high altitudes. Find out what can cause water in the lungs and how to treat it.

The diagnosis is made mainly through a chest X-ray associated with the analysis of the symptoms presented by the person, which may appear suddenly or over the long term.

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Symptoms of water in the lung

The main symptoms of water in the lung are:

  1. Shortness of breath and great difficulty breathing;
  2. Cough, which may contain blood;
  3. Increased respiratory rate;
  4. Noisy breathing;
  5. Purplish mucous membranes (eyes, lips);
  6. Unable to lie down due to increased shortness of breath;
  7. Anxiety;
  8. Swelling of the legs or feet;
  9. Chest tightness.

In the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of water in the lungs, it is recommended that the person goes to the hospital to have the diagnosis confirmed and the most appropriate treatment initiated.

How to confirm the diagnosis

Confirmation of the diagnosis of water in the lung is made when the person, in addition to the characteristic symptoms of the condition, presents a blurred spot around the lung on the X-ray examination.

In addition to the X-ray examination and lung and heart auscultation, an electrocardiogram, chest tomography, cardiac enzyme measurement, blood pressure measurement and arterial blood gas analysis may be recommended to assess the cause of the edema. Understand how the arterial blood gas analysis is performed.

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What to do

Treatment should be started as quickly as possible, and is designed to regulate breathing, remove water from the lungs and stop the causative agent. This can be achieved by placing a drain in the lung, using medication and in some cases heart surgery, when necessary. Learn more about treatment for water in the lungs.

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  • Created in February, 2012