The crackling sounds in the lungs usually reflect the buildup of fluid. Since the heart and lungs are linked by arteries, crackles are occasionally due to certain ailments of the heart that eventually lead to the back flow of the fluid into the lungs. Pneumonia and other lung conditions can also cause the crackling in the lungs. The lung crackles are breath sounds that can be heard using a stethoscope during a routine physical exam. Even blood tests, medical history and imaging studies are also performed in order to sort out the exact cause.
Infection of the lungs
Lung infection is considered as a common cause for crackling in the lungs. Viral infections can also cause bronchitis which can lead to persistent cough and shortness of breath. The crackling in the lungs and wheezing can develop due to airway irritation and inflammation. Even pneumonia caused by viral or bacterial infection can cause the crackling in the lungs. As the white blood cells accumulate in the lungs to fight off infection, fluid and other byproducts can also buildup, thus leading the crackles.
Obstructive pulmonary disease
Obstructive lung diseases such as asthma, cystic fibrosis and obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can cause wheezing but they can also cause crackling in the lungs. These obstructive lung conditions can disrupt the process or exhalation. As a result, carbon dioxide and other wastes that are normally exhaled will accumulate in the lungs. This results to damage on the lung tissues that can eventually lead to crackling in the lungs. As time passes by, the bronchi will weaken and dilate, causing the condition bronchiectasis which contributes to the crackles as additional fluid accumulates.
The weakening of the heart muscles caused by a heart attack, genetic disorder, viral infection or even certain medications can lead to heart failure. Once the pumping function of the heart diminishes, the blood backs up into the lungs. In most cases, individuals who are diagnosed with heart failure can initially feel shortness of breath due to the accumulation of fluid which is called as pulmonary edema. Once physical examination is carried out, the crackling in the lungs can be heard as the fluid tends to shift during a deep breath. If you want to learn the indications of a heart attack, click here.
Interstitial lung disease
The lung disorders that involve the interstitium or tissues surrounding the air sacs in the lungs are interstitial lung diseases. Conditions that involve inflammation such as sarcoidosis, rheumatoid arthritis or exposure to asbestos can lead to interstitial lung disease. In some cases, the individual can develop an interstitial lung disorder called as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in which the cause is unknown. The lung scarring due to interstitial lung disease can cause crackling in the lungs since the fluid is trapped in the affected tissue.