What happens if lungs are damaged? You may have wondered about COPD, ARDS, COVID-19, or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Fortunately, there is good news. The following articles discuss the causes and treatment for each disease. Learn about the differences between COPD, ARDS, and COVID-19. This information can help you make an informed decision about treatment.


A person with ARDS usually experiences shortness of breath, and rapid, shallow breathing. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can cause a range of symptoms, including confusion, sweating, low blood pressure, and rapid heart rate. The person may even be blue in color because of the low oxygen content in their blood. The symptoms of ARDS are not always immediately apparent, and immediate medical attention should be sought.


COPD is a chronic ailment in which the lungs are damaged. It causes the airways to narrow, making breathing more difficult. Inflammation of the airway lining also makes it difficult for people to breathe. While COPD is a chronic condition, treatments and medications can help people manage the disease and remain active. If you suspect that you have COPD, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.


A chest x-ray and CT scan show that people with COVID-19 have some level of lung damage. The damage can be minimal or significant, and doctors may prescribe drugs to prevent lung scarring. The condition can worsen underlying lung disease, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The long-term consequences of COVID-19 damage to the lungs may include progressive lung failure.

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idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosus (IPF) is a chronic lung disease that causes the tissue around air sacs to become thick and scarred, making it more difficult to breathe. It usually affects people between the ages of 50 and 70. It is classified as an interstitial lung disease, because it is the result of inflammation and scarring within the lung.

COPD symptoms

Although COPD doesn’t present any immediate symptoms, there are certain signs that you may have this disease. First, you may find that you experience shortness of breath, especially when doing light exercises. If you experience these symptoms, you may also experience phlegmy cough, a mucus-producing cough that is especially bothersome in the morning. The lungs will be less able to cope with the amount of mucus that is produced during these episodes, which may be a symptom of COPD.

ARDS physical exam

If you suspect you have ARDS, your doctor will perform a physical exam and possibly a chest X-ray to check your oxygen levels and rule out any other possible medical conditions. An X-ray can also be helpful in detecting fluid in your lungs and may reveal a problem with your heart. A computerized tomography (CT) scan of your chest can reveal more details about your heart and lungs.

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Treatment options

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest congestion, or weight loss, you may be suffering from lung disease. Diagnosing this type of disease is critical to your overall health. Luckily, the team at Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin has extensive experience treating patients with major lung diseases. Your doctor will likely order a series of tests to rule out other medical conditions or diagnose lung disease. These tests may include blood tests, chest CT scans, and pulmonary function testing.

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