ARDS is the acronym for acute respiratory distress syndrome. This form of respiratory failure is caused by a disease or condition that prevents health promoting oxygen from reaching your blood.
When your bloodstream oxygen levels begin to fall short, the initial symptomyou’ll likely experience is shortness of breath. As your ARDS produced oxygen shortfall continues, these other symptoms become part of your distress:
- nostril flaring
- rapid heart rate
- shallow breathing
- low blood pressure
- abnormal heart rhythms
Because vital organ malfunction can quickly develop, acute respiratory distress syndrome is a health emergency.
Any disease or condition that results in major lung inflammation or injury to the lungs can cause ARDS. In over half of those who develop acute respiratory distress syndrome, sepsis or pneumonia is the fundamental cause.
Some other causes of ARDS shortness of breath are:
- chest injury
- toxic shock
- heart failure
- near drowning
- stroke, seizure
- pulmonary embolism
- coronary bypass surgery
- aspiration of foreign substances
- toxic smoke, gas, chemical inhalation
- inhaling too high a concentration of oxygen
- drug overdose ~ heroin, methadone, propoxyphene, aspirin
Treatment for ARDS involves oxygen therapy to increase your low oxygen levels and treating your underlying cause for shortness of breath.
Unfortunately, some do die from acute respiratory distress syndrome.