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Respiratory Health

Respiratory Health

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This lesson will examine the cause and effect of various disorders of the respiratory system.

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Tutorial

What's Covered

This lesson will cover some common respiratory disorders by examining:

  1. Disorders Caused by Irritants
  2. Disorders Caused by Viruses and Bacteria
  3. Sleep Apnea
  4. Hazards of Smoking

1. Disorders Caused by Irritants.

Disorders such as bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma are all disorders caused by particles, gases, or some sort of airborne irritant will cause damage to a part of the respiratory system and oftentimes leads to difficulty breathing.

Bronchitis occurs when pollution increases mucus secretions causing mucus to accumulate in the airways. There's usually a lot of coughing and difficulty breathing associated with bronchitis.

Emphysema is another type of disorder caused by irritants. The lungs will become inflamed due to these irritants which leads to the lungs becoming inelastic. If the lungs are inelastic, they can't exchange gases as efficiently as they normally would.

Asthma is the last type of disorder we're going to discuss that is caused by an irritant. Bronchioles, the structures that connect the trachea to the lungs, will suddenly narrow making it very difficult to breathe. Asthma can be triggered by various factors such as an infection, heavy exercise, stress, et cetera.

Terms to Know

    • Bronchitis
    • Mucus accumulates in airways of respiratory system as a reaction to the increase in air pollutants which can lead to serious issues if not treated.
    • Emphysema
    • Lungs and airways become stiffened due to inflammation and breakdown of alveoli leading to insufficient gas exchange.
    • Asthma
    • A condition in which bronchioles narrow suddenly causing breathing troubles which is triggered by allergens, stress, exercise or respiratory infections.

2. Disorders Caused by Viruses and Bacteria

Some disorders of the respiratory system are caused by viruses or bacteria. Two such examples are pneumonia and tuberculosis, also known as TB.

Pneumonia occurs when a virus, bacteria, or fungi are inhaled, and then affects the lungs. It causes fluid build up within the lungs and the fluid occupies space that air would normally fill, making it difficult to breath.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a lung infection caused by a bacterium which causes patches of lung tissue to be destroyed. If left untreated it can be fatal because gases are not being exchanged as properly as they should, which is essential for maintenance of cells and tissue. A vaccine against tuberculosis does exist, so in the United States, it's generally not too big of an issue.

Terms to Know

    • Pneumonia
    • An infection of the lungs in which fluid build-up makes it difficult to breathe.
    • Tuberculosis
    • A lung infection caused by a type of bacteria which destroys lung tissue.

3. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is another disorder of the respiratory system that occurs when sensors in the brain that detect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels don't properly function and breathing patterns are disrupted. When a person is sleeping, sometimes their breathing will temporarily stop. This can be dangerous and is most prevalent in elderly or obese people.

Term to Know

    • Sleep Apnea
    • A condition in which a person's breathing suddenly stops for a period of time and then resumes during sleep.

4. Hazards of Smoking

One factor that plays a huge role in degenerating the health of the respiratory system is smoking, which can cause various disorders of the respiratory system. Smoking can prevent cilia from beating properly. It can cause mucous secretions, and kill phagocytes in the lining of the respiratory system. Phagocytes are important in maintaining respiratory health by cleaning debrit from inhaled air. Smoking can also increase the risk of lung cancer, and breast cancer and can lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Smoking not only has an effect on the respiratory system, but it also has an effect on the body as a whole.

Terms to Know

    • Cilia
    • Hair-like projections found on the surface of various types of cells that play a role in locomotion.
    • Phagocytes
    • Cells that act in innate immunity to engulf pathogens (phagocytosis) in attempt to prevent infection.

Summary

Some disorders of the respiratory system are caused by irritants being breathed in such as bronchitis, emphysema or asthma. Others can be caused by breathing in viruses or bacteria. This is the case with pneumonia and tuberculosis. Sleep apnea is a disorder caused when sensors in the brain that detect oxygen and carbon dioxide levels don’t function properly. While sleeping, breathing will stop, and this can be dangerous. Smoking is large hazard to the health of the respiratory system. It can cause many problems, not just in the respiratory system, but in the whole body such as lung cancer and breast cancer.

Keep up the learning and have a great day!

Source: SOURCE: THIS WORK IS ADAPTED FROM SOPHIA AUTHOR AMANDA SODERLIND

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Bronchitis

    Mucus accumulates in airways of respiratory system as a reaction to the increase in air pollutants which can lead to serious issues if not treated.

  • Emphysema

    Lungs and airways become stiffened due to inflammation and breakdown of alveoli leading to insufficient gas exchange.

  • Asthma

    A condition in which bronchioles narrow suddenly causing breathing troubles which is triggered by allergens, stress, exercise or respiratory infections.

  • Sleep Apnea

    A condition in which a person's breathing suddenly stops for a period of time and then resumes during sleep.

  • Pneumonia

    An infection of the lungs in which fluid build-up makes it difficult to breathe.

  • Tuberculosis

    A lung infection caused by a type of bacteria which destroys lung tissue.

  • Cilia

    Hair-like projections found on the surface of various types of cells that play a role in locomotion.

  • Phagocytes

    Cells that act in innate immunity to engulf pathogens (phagocytosis) in attempt to prevent infection.