Anonymous asked in HealthDiseases & ConditionsRespiratory Diseases · 1 decade ago

How does a heroin overdose cause acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)?

I'm writing an essay on how heroin addiction affects the body systems, and I've found out that an overdose can cause acute respiratory distress syndrome but I don't know how or why. I know ARDS is when damage to the capillaries that control gas exchange cause the alveoli to fill up with fluid, resulting in lung failure and stopping oxygen from reaching the rest of the body. But how exactly does an overdose of heroin cause this damage?

Someone help!

4 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Heroin directly affects (among other things) a portion of your brain controlling your rate and depth of respiration. A high dose of Heroin interferes with this area, and the number of depth of respirations slow. As the dosage grows higher, this effect increases until the patient is no longer breathing.

    If the patient is inhaling or smoking Heroin there is also a localized effect in the lungs that may cause inflammation or irritation. This can trigger asthma or a fluid build-up. This becomes worse depending on other chemicals that may be in the specific preparation used.

    Source(s): I am a Pharmacist
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    to add to what the nurse said an overdose can cause lots of vomiting which ends up in the lungs which causes an infecion and an immediate cessation of breathing from the blocked airway. you have no gag reflex sometimes if you OD and are unresposive so the patient will need intubated and put on a ventilator for usually 3-10 days depending on the severity of the mental / physical damage

    Source(s): RRT
  • 1 decade ago

    it depresses the respiratory drive centers in the brain which causes the person to breathe less effectively allowing fluid buildup in the lungs causing the damage to alveoli and thus the capillaries that perfuse the alveoli.

    Source(s): RN
  • loyer
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    i have treated folk with ARDS. many times maximum folk die from it and intensely few live on. evaluate your self very fortunate. I actual have not heard of any uncomfortable part effects such as memory loss yet anybody is diverse suited?

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