When a person has ARDS, fluid seeps from the surrounding blood vessels into the alveoli. In healthy individuals, a protective membrane inside the blood vessels prevents this from happening. If a person is very ill or injured, the membrane to leak. Severe infections, such as pneumonia or influenza, most commonly cause this damage, though blood poisoning or inhaling a substance into the lungs such as vomit or chemicals can have the same effect. Severe chest trauma can also cause ARDS. Acute pancreatitis, where the pancreas becomes inflamed very suddenly, can lead to the condition, as well.
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