Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome?
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening condition that occurs when fluid builds up in the air sacs of the lungs, resulting in difficulty breathing. ARDS is a medical emergency; if left untreated, it can lead to death. ARDS usually occurs after a viral or bacterial infection, such as pneumonia or sepsis. It can also occur after trauma or major surgery.ARDS can cause many symptoms, including rapid breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness and an increased heart rate. Other signs include bluish lips and nails due to lack of oxygen in the blood and low blood pressure due to excessive fluid buildup in the body’s tissues. Treatment for ARDS includes mechanical ventilation to help with breathing and provide oxygenation; antibiotics to treat underlying infections; diuretics to reduce fluid overload; and medications such as corticosteroids and immunosuppressants if necessary.People who are most at risk for developing ARDS include those who have weakened immune systems due to aging, cancer treatments or other illnesses; people with chronic lung diseases such as asthma or emphysema; smokers; people with diabetes; people who have been exposed to toxins such as smoke inhalation from fires or chemical spills; intravenous drug users; and infants born prematurely.Early diagnosis of ARDS is key for successful treatment outcomes so it is important that individuals seek medical attention immediately if they experience any of the symptoms mentioned above. With prompt medical care, many individuals with ARDS recover within several weeks without any lasting effects on their health.