What Does Acute Respiratory Failure Feel Like?

What is Acute Respiratory Failure and What Causes It?

Acute Respiratory Failure is an emergent medical condition in which the lungs lose its ability to mix adequate oxygen in the blood to be carried to different parts of the body.(2) This results in the oxygen levels in the blood to fall down below the required levels for the body to function normally causing a virtual breakdown of the body systems and resultant malfunction, which in many cases is potentially fatal for the affected individual.(2) In some cases, Acute Respiratory Failure occurs due to the inability of the lungs to clear carbon dioxide from the body causing low levels of oxygen in the blood.(2)

Respiratory Failure may be acute or chronic. The symptoms of Acute Respiratory Failure are sudden in onset where the affected individual will complain of difficulty breathing and will have cyanosis of the nail beds and lips.

Causes of Acute Respiratory Failure

Some of the common causes of Acute Respiratory Failure are obstruction of the airways, which can happen due to some foreign body getting lodged in the throat. An injury to the lungs in the form of a gunshot or a stab wound can also cause Acute Respiratory Failure.(1) Medical conditions like pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome also tends to cause Acute Respiratory Failure.

Excessive alcohol use and inhalation of chemical toxins also predispose an individual to Acute Respiratory Failure.(1) Neurological conditions like stroke also affect the lungs decreasing its capacity to take in oxygen leading to Acute Respiratory Failure.(1)

The pertinent question that most people at risk for this condition ask is as to how Acute Respiratory Failure feels like. This article gives a brief overview of how exactly Acute Respiratory Failure feels like.

The Symptoms: What Does Acute Respiratory Failure Feel Like?

How an individual will feel like in cases of Acute Respiratory Failure depends on the severity of the condition and what exactly is causing the condition. The severity of the symptoms of Acute Respiratory Failure also depends on the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.

In cases where an individual has high levels of carbon dioxide will exhibit increased rate of breathing, confusion and altered mentation.(2) Acute Respiratory Failure Patients with low levels of oxygen will complain of difficulty breathing, cyanosis of the skin, especially in the lips and the nail beds.(2)

Some of the other symptoms that an individual with Acute Respiratory Failure feels are: restlessness, anxiety, inability to sleep, syncopal events in some cases, and arrhythmia.(2) Some individuals may also complain of increased sweating as a result of Acute Respiratory Failure.(2)


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