Excess water in the lungs, also called pulmonary edema, may be caused by several conditions, most of which involve the heart. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, a feeling of suffocation, chest pain and heart palpitations. Work closely with your doctor to determine the cause of your edema, and ask his advice regarding following an exercise program.
Walking and Acute Pulmonary Edema
If you have a condition that has caused pulmonary edema, it is important for you to rest and allow yourself to heal. Any type of exercise at this time, including walking, might make it even harder for you to breathe. Talk to your doctor about when you can resume your walking regimen. If you suddenly begin to develop the symptoms of water in your lungs or have trouble breathing, call 911 or have someone take you to the emergency room immediately.
Walking as Prevention
If you have congestive heart failure, walking during the times that you are not retaining excess fluid may help prevent water from settling in your lungs. If you have been sedentary, build up your exercise regimen slowly and with your doctor's help. If you are overweight or obese, walking can help you lose weight, which in turn may reduce your risk of developing the heart problems that often lead to pulmonary edema.
Other Ways to Prevent Pulmonary Edema
If you have a heart problem, take all prescribed medications as directed by your doctor. Also, weigh yourself each morning. If you gain more than 2 lbs. in one day, call your doctor, as this may indicate that you are beginning to retain fluid. Strive to eat foods with low sodium levels, and talk to your doctor about how much salt is safe for you to consume. Have your blood pressure and blood cholesterol checked frequently.
Keeping Your Heart Healthy
Since the most common cause of water in the lungs is heart failure, it makes sense to take the steps necessary to keep your heart healthy. If you are overweight or obese, lose weight. Do this by exercising daily and eating healthy foods in moderation. Don't smoke, and drink alcohol sparingly, if at all. Eat heart-healthy foods, such as fatty fish, fruits and vegetables. Find ways to keep your stress levels under control.