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ARDS Symptoms

The first signs and symptoms of ARDS are:

  • Feeling like you can’t get enough air into your lungs/severe shortness of breath
  • Labored and unusually rapid breathing
  • Low blood oxygen level

The signs and symptoms of ARDS can vary in intensity, depending on the cause of the condition and how severe it is. In addition, the symptoms can be worse if there is underlying heart or lung disease. 

Other signs and symptoms depend on the cause of ARDS. They may occur before ARDS develops. For example, if pneumonia is causing ARDS, you may have a cough and fever before you feel short of breath.

People who develop ARDS are often in the hospital for other serious health problems and ARDS usually follows a major illness or injury.