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ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome) Symptoms, Causes, and Life Expectancy

ARDS (acute respiratory syndrome) definition and facts*

*ARDS facts Medically Edited by: pneumonia. If you have trouble breathing, call your doctor right away. If you have severe shortness of breath, call an ambulance or emergency medical services like 911 immediately.

  • Causes of ARDS includes infections, injuries, or other conditions that cause the lung's tiny blood vessels to leak more fluid than normal into the lungs' air sacs. This prevents the lungs from filling with air and moving enough oxygen into the bloodstream.
  • Some common conditions and factors that cause to ARDS are sepsis, pneumonia, severe bleeding caused by an injury, an injury to the chest or head, breathing in harmful fumes or smoke, and inhaling vomited stomach contents from the mouth.
  • Risk factors for ARDS include any condition or illness that can directly or indirectly injure the lungs.
  • The first signs and symptoms of ARDS are feeling like you can't get enough air into your lungs, rapid breathing, and low oxygen levels in the blood. Other signs and symptoms depend on the cause of the condition. They may occur before ARDS develops.
  • Your doctor will diagnose ARDS based on your medical history, a physical exam, and the results from tests.
  • Treatment of ARDS iinvolves with oxygen therapy, fluids, and medicines. Treatments are done in a hospital's intensive care unit. Patients who have ARDS may develop other medical problems while in the hospital. The most common problems are infections, pneumothorax (collapsed lung), lung scarring, and blood clots. The survival rate for people with ARDS is dependent upon the underlying disease as well as the overall health status of the patient.
  • Some people fully recover from ARDS. Others continue to have health problems. These problems may include shortness of breath, tiredness and muscle weakness, depression, and problems with memory and thinking clearly.
  • You can take steps to recover from ARDS and improve your quality of life. Ask your family and friends to help with everyday activities. Don't smoke and avoid secondhand smoke and other lung irritants, such as harmful fumes. Go to pulmonary rehabilitation if you doctor recommends it. Join a support group for ARDS. Seek help from your health care team if you feel depressed.
  • ARDS treatment has improved in recent years. As a result, the survival rate for ARDS is improving. Researchers are studying new treatments for the condition.
  • What is ARDS?

    ARDS, or acute respiratory distress syndrome, is a lung condition that leads to low oxygen levels in the blood. ARDS can be life threatening because your body's organs need oxygen-rich blood to work well.

    People who develop ARDS often are very ill with another disease or have major injuries. They might already be in the hospital when they develop ARDS.

    To understand ARDS, it helps to understand how the lungs work. When you breathe, air passes through your nose and mouth into your windpipe. The air then travels to your lungs' air sacs. These sacs are called alveoli (al-VEE-uhl-eye).

    Small blood vessels called capillaries run through the walls of the air sacs. Oxygen passes from the air sacs into the capillaries and then into the bloodstream. Blood carries the oxygen to all parts of the body, including the body's organs.

    In ARDS, infections, injuries, or other conditions cause the lung's capillaries to leak more fluid than normal into the air sacs. This prevents the lungs from filling with air and moving enough oxygen into the bloodstream.

    As a result, the body's organs (such as the kidneys and brain) don't get the oxygen they need. Without oxygen, the organs may not work well or at all.

    People who develop ARDS often are in the hospital for other serious health problems. Rarely, people who aren't hospitalized have health problems that lead to ARDS, such as severe pneumonia.

    If you have trouble breathing, call your doctor right away. If you have severe shortness of breath, call 9-1-1.

    ARDS symptoms and signs

    The first signs and symptoms of ARDS are feeling like you can't get enough air into your lungs, rapid breathing, and a low blood oxygen level.

    Other signs and symptoms depend on the cause of the ARDS. They may occur before ARDS develops. For example, if pneumonia is causing ARDS, you may have a cough and fever before you feel short of breath.

    Sometimes, people who have ARDS develop signs and symptoms such as low blood pressure, confusion, and extreme tiredness. This may mean that the body's organs, such as the kidneys and heart, aren't getting enough oxygen-rich blood.

    Most people who develop ARDS are in the hospital for other serious health problems. Rarely, people who aren't hospitalized have health problems that lead to ARDS, such as severe pneumonia.

    If you have trouble breathing, call your doctor right away. If you have severe shortness of breath, call 9-1-1.

    Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/31/2017

    Source: MedicineNet.com
    http://www.medicinenet.com/ards/article.htm

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