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Respiratory failure (lung failure) is a condition in which the level of oxygen in the blood becomes dangerously low or the level of carbon dioxide becomes dangerously high.
Conditions that block the airways, damage lung tissue, weaken the muscles that control breathing, or decrease the drive to breathe may cause lung failure.
People may be very short of breath, have a bluish coloration to the skin, and be confused or sleepy.
Doctors use blood tests to detect low levels of oxygen or high levels of carbon dioxide in the blood.
Oxygen is given.
Sometimes people need the help of a machine to breathe until the underlying problem can be treated.
Respiratory failure is a medical emergency that can result from long-standing, progressively worsening lung disease or from severe lung disease that develops suddenly, such as the acute respiratory distress syndrome (see Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)), in otherwise healthy people.
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