Risk Factors Associated with ARDS

Last updated: November 4, 2020

Many factors may increase the risk of developing ARDS, such as various types of infection, products that patients are exposed to, lifestyle habits, family history, genetic make-up, other medical diagnoses, ethnic background and gender. Of all the potential risk factors, the most common risk factor associated with ARDS is infection. The infection may be minor or significant, ranging from a common viral infection to sepsis (American Lung Association [ALA], 2019a; Ignatavicius et al., 2018; NHLBI, 2019).

Exposures that can increase the risk of ARDS includes living or working in an area that has significant air pollution, first or second-hand smoke inhalation, and heavy use of alcohol or illegal drugs. There is a lower incidence of ARDS in Caucasian patients, and males are more likely to develop ARDS in the pediatric population but not necessarily in the adult population. Genetics may increase the risk, but it may also contribute to how the lung tissue and immune system respond to direct or indirect injuries that can contribute to ARDS. As previously mentioned, medical disorders such as pancreatitis can also increase the risk of ARDS (ALA, 2019a; Ignatavicius et al., 2018; NHLBI, 2019).