Respiratory System Parts And Functions And Diseases

Respiratory System Parts And Functions And Diseases

The human respiratory system is a series of organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. The primary organs of the respiratory system are lungs, which carry out this exchange of gases as we breathe. The respiratory system (also respiratory apparatus, ventilatory system) is a biological system consisting of specific organs and structures used for gas exchange in animals and plants. The anatomy and physiology that make this happen varies greatly, depending on the size of the organism, the environment in which it lives and its evolutionary history. In land animals the respiratory surface is internalized as linings of the lungs. Gas exchange in the lungs occurs in millions of small air sacs called alveoli in mammals and reptiles, but atria in birds. These microscopic air sacs have a very rich blood supply, thus bringing the air into close contact with the blood. These air sacs communicate with the external environment via a system of airways, or hollow tubes, of which the largest is the trachea, which branches in the middle of the chest into the two main bronchi. These enter the lungs where they branch into progressively narrower secondary and tertiary bronchi that branch into numerous smaller tubes, the bronchioles.

Important of Respiratory System In Human

In humans, the average rate of breathing depends on age. A newborn’s normal breathing rate is about 40 times each minute and may slow to 20 to 40 times per minute when the baby is sleeping, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

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For adults, the average resting respiratory rate for adults is 12 to 16 breaths per minute, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. The human body needs oxygen to sustain itself. A decrease in oxygen is known as hypoxia and a complete lack of oxygen is known as anoxia, according to the National Institutes of Health. These conditions can be fatal; after about four minutes without oxygen, brain cells begin dying, according to NYU Langone Medical Center, which can lead to brain damage and ultimately death.

Parts of respiratory system

Respiratory System Parts And Functions And Diseases 1 Respiratory System Parts And Functions And Diseases

According to tutorvista, Respiratory system consists of the organs that help to breathe. Respiration also known as breathing is the process which delivers oxygen from the external atmosphere to the body and removes the carbon dioxide from body and expels out. The main parts of the respiratory system and their functions are as follows
• The nostrils
• Trachea
• Bronchi
• Lungs
• Alveolus
• Diaphragm

The nostrils: Nostrils are involved in air intake, i.e. they bring air into the nose, where air is warmed and humidified. The tiny hairs called cilia filters out dust and other particles present in the air and protects the nasal passage and other regions of the respiratory tract. As we breathe, oxygen enters the nose or mouth and passes the sinuses, which are hollow spaces in the skull. Sinuses help regulate the temperature and humidity of the air we breathe.
Trachea: The trachea is also known as windpipe. The trachea filters the air we inhale and branches into the bronchi.

Bronchi: The bronchi are the two air tubes that branch off of from the trachea and carry atmospheric air directly into the lungs. The bronchi tubes lead to the lobes of the lungs. The right lung has three lobes; the left lung has two, according to the American Lung Association. The left lung is smaller to allow room for the heart, according to York University. Lobes are filled with small, spongy sacs called alveoli, and this is where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs.

Lungs: The main organ of the respiratory system is lungs. Lungs are the site in body where oxygen is taken into and carbon dioxide is expelled out. The red blood cells present in the blood picks up the oxygen in the lungs and carry and distribute the oxygen to all body cells that need it. The red blood cells donate the oxygen to the cells and picks up the carbon dioxide produced by the cells.

Alveolus: Alveolus is the tiny sac like structure present in the lungs which the gaseous exchange takes place. The alveolus walls are extremely thin (about 0.2 micrometers). These walls are composed of a single layer of tissues called epithelial cells and tiny blood vessels called pulmonary capillaries.

Diaphragm: The diaphragm, a dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of the lungs, controls breathing and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity, the American Lung Association noted. When a breath it taken, it flattens out and pulls forward, making more space for the lungs. During exhalation, the diaphragm expands and forces air out.

Diseases of the respiratory system

Diseases and conditions of the respiratory system fall into two categories: viruses, such as influenza, bacterial pneumonia, enterovirus respiratory virus; and chronic diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to Dr. Neal Chaisson, who practices pulmonary medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, there is not much that can be done for viral infections but to let them run their course. “Antibiotics are not effective in treating viruses and the best thing to do is just rest”.


COPD is the intersection of three related conditions — chronic bronchitis, chronic asthma and emphysema. It is a progressive disease that makes it increasingly difficult for sufferers to breath.


Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung airways that causes coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath, according to Tonya Winders, president of the Allergy & Asthma Network. These signs and symptoms may be worse when a person is exposed to their triggers, which can include air pollution, tobacco smoke, factory fumes, cleaning solvents, infections, pollens, foods, cold air, exercise, chemicals and medications.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is often associated with smoking, but the disease can affect non-smokers as well. Every year, about 16,000 to 24,000 Americans die of lung cancer, even though they have never smoked. In 2018, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 234,030 new cases of lung cancer (121,680 in men and 112,350 in women) and around 154,050 deaths from lung cancer (83,550 in men and 70,500 in women).

Potential Benefits Diagnosing and treating respiratory ailments

Accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment of respiratory illness
Common diagnostic tools for diagnosing respiratory disease include chest X-rays and a pulmonary function test (PFT), according to Merck Manuals. A PFT measures how well the lungs take in and release air and how well they circulate oxygen.

A doctor may also perform a bronchoscopy by inserting a tube with a light and camera into the airways — the trachea and the bronchial tubes — to examine for bleeding, tumors, inflammation or other abnormalities. A similar procedure is a thoracoscopy, in which a doctor uses an optical device to examine the surfaces of the lungs.

A physician may order a PFT as part of a routine exam — especially for smokers, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A PFT may also be ordered to test lung function before surgery or to help diagnose lung conditions or diseases.

A new nasal swab test measures RNA or protein molecules in human cells and can identify a viral infection, according to a study published Dec. 21, 2017, in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. “It’s a simpler test and more cost-effective for looking at viral infection,” the author, Dr. Ellen Foxman, assistant professor of laboratory medicine at Yale School of Medicine, told YaleNews. During the test, RNAs predicted viral infection with 97 percent accuracy.

For most healthy individuals, the most common respiratory ailment they may face is an infection, according to Dr. Matthew Exline, a pulmonologist and critical care expert at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. A cough is the first symptom, possibly accompanied by a fever.
“However, cough can be a sign of chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis or emphysema,” he said. “In chronic lung disease, most respiratory diseases present with shortness of breath, initially with exertion, such as walking a significant distance or climbing several flights of stairs.”

The most certain way to diagnose asthma is with a lung function test, a medical history and a physical exam, according to Winders. “However, it’s hard to do lung function tests in children younger than 5 years. Thus, doctors must rely on children’s medical histories, signs and symptoms, and physical exams to make a diagnosis.”

For COPD, many patients benefit from respiratory rehabilitation, according to Dr. Brian Carlin, assistant professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine. “It is much like cardiac rehabilitation for heart patients, and can provide education, exercise and training to reduce the number of respiratory incidents.”

Other Research Sources:

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