What is Respiratory failure?
Respiratory failure is when the lungs can no longer exchange gas to meet the body’s requirements.
There are two types of respiratory failure. Type 1 is when the volume of air flowing in and out of the lungs is not matched with the flow of blood to the lungs. Type 2 is when the small air spaces in the lungs do not fill with enough air to get oxygen to the blood.
Respiratory failure can be the result of trauma, injury, drug or alcohol abuse, or inhalation of carbon monoxide. Chronic respiratory failure is usually caused by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or morbid obesity.
How common is Respiratory failure?
Those who abuse drugs and alcohol and are severely obese are more likely to suffer from respiratory failure.
What are the symptoms of Respiratory failure?
Respiratory failure is accompanied by bluish lips and fingernails, confusion and loss of consciousness, fainting, fatigue, irregular heart rate and breathlessness. If you experience any of these symptoms it is vital that you seek medical advice.
How is Respiratory failure treated?
If there is an underlying infection this will be treated first. Assisted breathing is the main way of treating respiratory failure. However, you may also be treated with antibiotics, steroid medications, oxygen therapy, a tracheostomy and in severe cases a lung transplant.
If you wish to disclose your medical details and allow your insurer the opportunity to review your medical history, choose a policy with Full Medical Underwriting.