The Respiratory System

Usually when we think about the respiratory system all we think about is breathing. But, the respiratory system is so much more. The respiratory system is a system of organs functioning in respiration and consisting especially of the nose, nasopharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. The respiratory systems purpose is to take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, by taking in the good air and getting rid of the bad air it allows us to oxygenate our cells and which provides the rest of our body the nutrients it needs. One of the first steps of the respiratory system is the external respiration, which is when the exchange of air in the lung capillaries happen.

Oxygen is inhaled into alveoli and is passed into the capillaries and carbon dioxide is passed from the capillaries into the alveoli to be exhaled. The second step is called the internal respiration where the exchange of gases in the cells take place. Oxygen is passed through the bloodstream into the tissues back into the bloodstream to travel to the lungs. It also works with the circulatory system to transfer blood and oxygen throughout the body. By working with the circulatory system, it ensures that our body gets the proper amounts of oxygen and nutrients we need to survive and keep our bodies functioning properly.

The major organs that make up the respiratory system consist of the three major parts: the airway, the lungs, and the muscles of respiration. Within those three major parts, there are organs that aid and pave the way for a healthy respiratory system. The airway, which includes the nose (Nasal cavity), mouth (Oral cavity), pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and bronchioles, carries air between the lungs and the body’s exterior. The lungs which acts as the functional units of the respiratory system by passing oxygen into the body and carbon dioxide out of the body. The third major part is the muscles of respiration, including the diaphragm, which act as a pump, pushing air into and out of the lungs during breathing. The nose (Nasal) is a structure of the face made of cartilage, bone, muscle, and skin that supports and protects the anterior portion of the nasal cavity.

The nasal cavity is a hollow space within the nose and skull that is lined with hairs and mucus membrane. The function of the nasal cavity is to warm, moisturize, and filter the air entering the body before it reaches the lungs. Also air that exits the body from the nose returns moisture and heat to the nasal cavity. Although the nose is the main organ that allows for air inhalation it is not the only one. The body has another source for allowing air into the body. That source name is the oral cavity also known as the mouth the secondary opening into our respiratory system. The oral cavity play an important part in our respiratory system. It’s a backup entrance for air if needed whenever the nasal functions are down.

Because the pathway of air entering the body from the mouth is shorter than the pathway for air entering from the nose, the mouth does not warm and moisturize the air entering the lungs as well as the nose performs this function. The oral cavity also lacks the filtering system that the nose is equipped with, but that’s when the epiglottis jumps into action. The epiglottis being a thin flap of skin that blocks food from entering the larynx (windpipe). The epiglottis covers the trachea during swallowing and ingesting of food. The trachea is another organ of the respiratory system, the trachea or windpipe is a 5 inches long tube made of c-shaped cartilage rings. Its connects the larynx to the bronchi and allows air to pass through. With this function provides a clear airway for air to enter and exit the lungs. Also the epithelium lining the trachea produces mucus that traps dust and other toxin things prevents it from reaching the lungs. The larynx is located inferior of the trachea the larynx contains special structures known as vocal folds, which allow the body to produce the sounds of speech. The vocal folds are folds of mucous membrane that vibrate to produce vocal sounds. Right next to the larynx is the pharynx.

The pharynx is another name for the throat, which is located at the end of the nasal cavity. After air is filtered through the nose it has to pass through the pharynx. Which consist of three separate regions the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx. The nasopharynx is located posterior to the nasal cavity. The oropharynx is where air passes when air enters through the oral cavity. Lastly the air has to filter through the laryngopharynx. As air is still moving through the respiratory systems before exiting the lungs the airway splits into left and right branches known as the primary bronchi. The left and right bronchi filter air into each lung. Our left and right lungs are different sizes and shapes. Due to the heart being on the left side its smaller. Our body has two lobes on the left and the right has three lobes. Each lung main function is the process of gas exchange which is breathin.

The Alveoli allow air to enter to exchange it gases with blood passing through the capillaries. Each lung is surrounded by a pleural membrane that provides the lung with space to expand as well as a negative pressure space relative to the body’s exterior. The negative pressure allows the lungs to passively fill with air as they relax. The last major organs that makes up the respiratory system is the main muscle of the system known as the diaphragm. The diaphragm plays a vital role in the respiratory system. The main muscle during respiration is contraction of the abdominal cavity it expands the lungs during inspiration when we are breathing in air. Between ribs their are small intercostal muscle that help. The two groups are called internal intercostal and external muscles.

The first groups are deeper sets that depress the ribs this is the force air exhaled from our lungs. While external elevate the ribs expanding causing air to be inhaled into the lungs. Previously mentioned although there are three major parts of the respiratory system there are many organs that play a significant role in ensuring life. There are a great amount of respiratory diseases that could possibly affect your activities of daily living. Here I’ll be listing those associated with but not limited to respiratory diseases.

Asthma- Chronic bronchial inflammatory disorder with airway obstruction due to bronchial edema and constriction and increased mucus production signs and symptoms include dyspnea, wheezing and cough. There are many different triggers that may cause one to have flare-ups such as but not limited to exercise, strong odors, cold air, stress, and allergies. Treatment options are inhalers or steroidsCroup: acute viral infection of infants and children with obstruction of larynx accompanied by barking coughing and stridor the most common agent in this case will be influenza virus or respiratory syncytial virus also known as RSV. Treatment antibiotics cough medicines and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs.

Pertussis: Commonly known as the whooping cough, which is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the pharynx, and trachea caused by Bordetella pertussis. Treatment antibiotics.

Diphtheria: An acute infection of the throat and upper respiratory tract caused by this area bacterium. There are injections that are given between the 6 and 8 weeks of life with a combination of other shots called DPT. Treatment antibiotics and penicillin.

Respiratory Tract Infection: Acute infection involving the nose paranasal sinus pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi in other words the common cold signs and symptoms include but are not limited to fever, chills, sore throat, fatigue and many others like chest discomfort. Treatment options are cough medicine for a drug and antihistamine and decongestants.

The respiratory system has a harmonious relationship with the other body systems. It provides the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between air and blood in the lungs. This system aids all other systems in it’s function in the human body. The respiratory system interacts with the cardiovascular system by transporting the nutrients from food and oxygen to the cells in the body. Because of this process, the nutrients keep the lungs healthy and allow air to keep the circulatory system moving.

Also, the lungs have receptors that react to inflation and deflation This can activate the nervous system, leading to a response like a cough or a change in the breathing pattern. The respiratory system provides the oxygen that is carried by red blood cells to all the parts of the body.

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