Washington: Patients who survived the fatal lung disease find their subsequent quality of life has more to do with lifestyle factors than how sick they were in the hospital, a new study has found. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a progressive medical condition occurring in critically ill patients characterised by widespread inflammation in the lungs. The team studied 616 patients who were treated for ARDS to determine what factors played the most significant role in their quality of life six months following discharge from the hospital. The findings showed that patient's acuity or level of illness was not a significant marker in their subsequent quality of life but lifestyle factors, specifically obesity and smoking, were associated with a worse quality of life rating. The main complication in ARDS is that fluid leaks into the lungs making breathing difficult or impossible -- and making it difficult to get oxygen into the blood. Most people who get ARDS are already in the hospital for trauma or illness and are unable to breathe on their own without support from a ventilator. “With survival rates improving for ARDS patients, understanding and improving their quality of life outcomes is a clinical and research priority,” said Samuel M. Brown, Associate Professor at the University of Utah in the US. "The ICU and the critical care environment are so focused on life-and-death issues, and we're so busy as clinicians, that we often don't have time to think about lifestyle factors, such as obesity and smoking and the role they play in our patient's long-term quality of life. Our study emphasises the need for us to do more of that," Brown added in the study published in the journal Thorax. Smoking cessation education should be incorporated into the critical care setting, suggested the researchers.