Acute respiratory distress syndrome

Other names: ARDS

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a condition where fluid accumulates in the air sacs in the lungs, hindering the passage of oxygen into the bloodstream. This lack of oxygen can lead to organ dysfunction and, in severe cases, death. ARDS typically arises in critically ill individuals or those with significant injuries.

SYMPTOMS

CAUSES

The primary cause of ARDS is the leakage of fluid from the blood vessels in the lungs into the air sacs due to inflammation. Common underlying causes include sepsis, inhalation of harmful substances, severe pneumonia, and major injuries.

RISK FACTORS

Individuals already hospitalized for another condition, particularly those with sepsis, are at higher risk of developing ARDS. Chronic alcoholism also increases the likelihood of ARDS development and mortality.

COMPLICATIONS

Complications of ARDS may include pulmonary fibrosis, collapsed lung, blood clots, infections, abnormal lung function, and cognitive issues.

DIAGNOSIS

Diagnosing ARDS involves physical exams, chest X-rays, oxygen level measurements, and ruling out other conditions that mimic its symptoms. Imaging studies like chest X-rays and CT scans may be used to assess lung involvement.

TREATMENT

Treatment aims to improve blood oxygen levels through supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation. Careful fluid management is crucial, along with medications to prevent infections and manage symptoms.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

After recovering from ARDS, lifestyle changes like quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as vaccination against respiratory infections, can help protect lung health.

COPING AND SUPPORT

Recovery from ARDS can be challenging. Seeking support from loved ones, attending rehabilitation programs, joining support groups, and seeking professional help for mental health issues like depression are essential steps towards recovery.

QUESTIONS

  1. What is ARDS?

Acute respiratory distress syndrome is a condition where fluid accumulates in the air sacs of the lungs.

  1. What are the main symptoms of ARDS?

Severe shortness of breath, labored breathing, low blood pressure, confusion, and extreme fatigue.

  1. What are common causes of ARDS?

Sepsis, inhalation of harmful substances, severe pneumonia, and major injuries.

  1. Who is at higher risk for developing ARDS?

Individuals already hospitalized for another condition, particularly those with sepsis or a history of chronic alcoholism.

  1. What complications can arise from ARDS?

Pulmonary fibrosis, collapsed lung, blood clots, infections, abnormal lung function, and cognitive issues.

  1. How is ARDS diagnosed?

Through physical exams, chest X-rays, oxygen level measurements, imaging studies like CT scans.

  1. What is the primary goal of treating ARDS?

To improve blood oxygen levels through supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation.

  1. How can lifestyle changes help in recovering from ARDS?

Quitting smoking and alcohol consumption, vaccination against respiratory infections can protect lung health.

  1. What support options are available for coping with ARDS?

Seeking help from loved ones, attending rehabilitation programs or support groups, and seeking professional help for mental health issues like depression.

  1. Can all individuals fully recover from ARDS?

While some individuals recover completely from ARDS without lasting damage to their lungs, others may experience long-term complications despite improved treatments.