Respiratory system is one of the most vital physiological and anatomical systems in our body. We breathe in air (it is oxygen rich air) by process called inspiration and breathe out air (rich in CO2) by process called as expiration. The respiratory system helps in safe exchange of gases from outer atmosphere to inside the body. The of respiratory system of human body is not a problematic one mostly, but it is a delicate one and if neglected or hampered in early life, it can reduce life span and quality of life drastically. The disorders of respiratory system are many but are not fatal on instant basis. They can be reduced or treated by proper medical care.
Parts of respiratory system:
1. Nose: This is partly made of cartilaginous bone and is entrance and exit for air. It has odorous glands to detect smell and also hairs inside to prevent any dust particles passing in along with air.
2. Larynx: This is the tract of respiratory system in the throat. It is responsible for sound and is made of cartilage.
3.Trachea:This is a longer part of the tract and is made of circles of cartilaginous bones with a capacity to contract and relax. This trachea divides into two bronchi before entry into lungs.
4. Bronchi: These are two as right and left and each enters into respective lung. Bronchi further divides into smaller branches as bronchioles which almost extend into alveoli of lungs.
5. Lungs: These are large sac like structures (balloon like). There are two in number. One on left and other on rights of thorax or chest.They are very thin layered and a bit transparent. Their walls have many passing tiny blood vessels. They are very delicate to sharp objects and get punctured easily on injury. Inside these lungs, there are small sacs called alveoli which are involved in exchange of gases between blood and air.
6. Cilia: These tiny bristle like structure on the surface of respiratory tract helping in movement of dust and phlegm from inside to out of the tract. They move in one specific direction only. In older people and people with inflammation the cilia activity is low and hence phlegm accumulates a lot in their respiratory tract.
7. Phlegm: Phlegm is a mucous secretion in the respiratory tract aimed to keep the tract moist and remove any dust particles entered into tract by flowing towards nose. This movement of phlegm is helped by cilia on the surface if tract. But profuse secretion and accumulation of phlegm can be havoc to patients.
Functions of Respiratory system:
- Gaseous exchange: Help in take of oxygen (O2) into blood from atmosphere and leave out CO2
- Metabolism: Some drugs and substances get metabolized in lungs due to heavy O2 content.
- Excretory in function: Lungs help in excretion of gaseous or volatile substances like Ammonia (NH3), Alcohol etc. Hence the smell of alcohol is detected in breathe.
These include Asthma, Colds, Cough, flu, COPD, emphysema, T.B, pneumonia.
a) Asthma: It is a periodic acute bronchial constriction with difficulty in breathing. It is mostly seasonal and aggravated by allergenic agents like pollen, dust etc.
b) Cold: These are mostly seasonal infections or by climatic change. It is due to inflammation of respiratory tract and caused by many number of viruses. The colds though seem simple which goes off in a week or so are actually the real and wear and tear of respiratory system. The number of colds a person experiences, the faster is drop in lung or respiratory capacity. So one needs to watch on the frequency of colds he suffers.
c) Cough: This is irritating reflex of larynx or bronchi when a substance or particle enters the system. Sometimes it is also caused by infectious diseases like TB, pneumonia etc. This is also a reflex to remove phlegm or mucous from the tract. It can be controlled easily. Yet it can be troublesome in old age, infants as it can pose pressure or pain in the region of heart or throat.
d) COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder. Probably the silent yet most fatal disorder of lungs. It is a progressive decrease in lung or respiratory capacity of a person making him unable to perform simple physical exertions. There is severe gushing even on least physical exertion like standing, walking, climbing stairs etc. to the victim. On sever case it causes lack of oxygen to tissues especially heart, brain and may lead to death. Once diagnosed, the life span of the patient cannot be more than 4-5years. The main cause is noted to be smoking. Yet it can also be due to respiratory infection of bacterial and viral origin.
e) Tuberculosis: A challenging infection to the medical world, tuberculosis could not be eradicated in spite of many year of effort to kill and eradicate the TB. It is caused by bacteria Bacillus calumet Guerin. This is a bacterium with special structures like a calcium shell around it which gives its resistance to TB drugs. It survives in most humans and gets activated due to lack of immunity or mental stress or by direct contact with infectious substance of TB patients. It is spread easily by coughing, phlegm etc from person to person.
Even the treatment is quite harsh as the patient has to consume strong drugs for 6 months to 1 year for complete sterilization from bacteria. If relapsed, the treatment is quite harder as bacteria are better resistant to previous drugs.
f) Pneumonia: It is bacterial infection and causes inflammation, difficulty in breathing etc.
g) Sinusitis: This is stuff character of nose. There is difficulty in breathing. The nasal walls are swollen due to engorgement with blood or sometimes there can be polyp or abnormal growth.