Acute respiratory distress syndrome
Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe lung condition that causes fluid to build up in your lungs so oxygen cannot get to your organs.
Fluid leaks from small blood vessels and collects in tiny air sacs in your lungs so they can’t full with enough air. Because of this, your blood can’t pick up the oxygen it needs it carry to the rest of your body. Organs such as your kidneys or brain might not work the way they should or might shut down.
ARDS is sometimes life threatening and can get worse quickly. But it’s generally treatable and most people recover. Fast diagnosis and treatment are important.
The symptoms of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome typically appear between one to three days after the injury or trauma.
Common symptoms and signs of ARDS include –
• labored and rapid breathing
• muscle fatigue and general weakness
• low blood pressure
• discolored skin or nails
• dry, hacking cough
• fast pulse rate
• mental confusion
• Sepsis –
The most common cause of Acute Respiratory Distress syndrome, a serious infection in the lungs(pneumonia) or other organs with widespread inflammation.
• Aspiration pneumonia–
Aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs may cause severe lung damage and ARDS.
• The Corona virus (COVID-19) –
The infection COVID-19 may develop into severe ARDS.
• Pancreatitis and massive blood transfusion
• Major trauma and burns-
Accidents and falls may directly damage the lungs or other organs in the body that trigger severe inflammation injury in the lungs.
• Inhalational injury –
Breathing and exposure to high concentrations of chemical fumes or smoke.
• Drug overdose-
An overdose of drugs like cocaine and opioids.a
Risk factors –
ARDS is usually a complication of another condition. These factors increase the risk of developing ARDS-
• age over 65 years
• chronic lung disease
• a history of alcohol misuse or cigarette smoke
• toxic shock
Doctor can diagnose ARDS in different ways. There’s no one definitive test for diagnosing ARDS.The doctor may take a blood pressure reading, perform a physical exam and recommend any of the following test –
• blood test
• Chest X-ray
• Throat and nose swabs
• Airway examination
The first goal in treating ARDS is to improve the levels of oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, your organs can’t function properly.
To get more oxygen into your bloodstream, you doctor will likely use –
• Supplemental oxygen
• Mechanical ventilation
Carefully management of the amount of intravenous fluids is crucial. Too much fluid can increase fluid buildup in the drugs.Too little can put a strain on your heart and other organs and lead to shock.
People with ARDS usually are given medication to-
• Prevent and treat infections
• Relieve pain and discomfort
• Prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs
• Minimize gastric reflux
• Collapse of part of your lung because it can’t inflate the way it should or because of air between your lung and your chest wall.
• Organ damage or failure
• High blood pressure in the artery that goes from your heart to your lungs
• Scarred lung tissue (Pulmonary fibrosis)
• Blood clots
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