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Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a severe lung condition. It occurs when fluid fills up the air sacs in your lungs. Too much fluid in your lungs can lower the amount of oxygen or increase the amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. ARDS can prevent your organs from getting the oxygen they need to function, and it can eventually cause organ failure.

ARDS most commonly affects hospitalized people who are very ill. It can also be caused by serious trauma. Symptoms usually occur within a day or two of the original illness or trauma, and they may include extreme shortness of breath and gasping for air.

ARDS is a medical emergency and a potentially life-threatening condition.

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