RESPIRATORY SYSTEM. INTRODUCTION.
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The respiratory system generally includes tubes, such as the bronchi, which are used to carry air to the lungs where gas exchange occurs. The diaphragm, like other muscles can contract and relax. When someone inhales, the diaphragm contracts and flattens and the chest cavity expands. This contraction creates a vacuum that sucks air into the lungs. When exhaling, the diaphragm relaxes and returns to its previous position (dome-like shape) and the air is expelled from the lungs.
To explain the anatomy of the lungs, it is necessary to discuss the passage of air through the mouth to the alveoli. Once air progresses through the mouth or the nose, it travels through the oropharynx, the nasopharynx, the larynx, the trachea, and a progressively subdividing system of bronchi and bronchioles, until it finally reaches the alveoli where the gas exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen takes place.
Exercise regularly, this helps to improve the circulation of the blood.
Eat a well balanced diet.
Eat vegetables, especially green vegetables.
Avoid eating too much saturated fats. Use beneficial fats and oils.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Live in a clean environment.
Avoid smoking cigarettes and second hand smoke. Smoking increases the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
Have a positive outlook in life.
Try to reduce stress and tension.
Avoid high blood pressure because this can cause heart failure and stroke.
Respiratory diseases can be classified in many different ways: by the organ involved, by the pattern of symptoms or by the cause of the disease. The main thing is to always be careful around food because some foods can cause allergic reactions and incite breathing difficulties. Some common examples include seafood (like prawns), some fatty fish, radish, arrow root, fish fingers, lemon, dhal, peanuts (dry fruits in general), water content spinach, curd, bananas, grapes, pomegranates, berries, custard apple, ice creams, etc. In the summer, bad weather conditions mean sandy and dusty weather or for some people, bad weather may be affect them in winter also.
Inflammatory lung disease is also called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and includes a wide range of inflammatory lung ailments. These ailments include asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis. In many cases, the lungs are chronically inflamed, making it difficult to breathe and placing strain on the heart. Individuals with inflammatory lung disease may find it difficult to engage in exercise or activities that require heavy breathing. COPD is an illness that is gaining in frequency as pollution in our air increases.
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by variable and recurring symptoms, reversible airflow obstruction, and bronchospasm. Symptoms include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.
Treatment of acute symptoms is usually with an inhaled short-acting beta-2 agonist . Symptoms can be prevented by avoiding triggers, such as allergens and irritants, and by inhaling corticosteroids. Leukotriene antagonists are less effective than corticosteroids and thus less preferred.
The prevalence of asthma has increased significantly since the 1970s. As of 2009, 300 million people were affected worldwide. In 2009 asthma caused 250,000 deaths globally. Despite this, with proper control of asthma with step down therapy, prognosis is generally good.
Respiratory tract infections affect the nose, the throat, and the airways, and may be caused by any of several different viruses.
Common respiratory tract infections include the common cold and influenza (flu).
Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, a runny nose, scratchy throat, cough, and irritability.
The diagnosis is based on symptoms.
Good hygiene is the best way to prevent these infections, and routine vaccination can prevent influenza.
Treatment aims to relieve symptoms (palliative effect).
There are two types: Lower and Upper respiratory tract infections.
Malignant tumours, or cancers of the respiratory system, particularly lung cancers, are a major health problem responsible for 15% of all cancer diagnoses and 29% of all cancer deaths. The majority of respiratory system cancers are attributable to smoking tobacco.
In addition, since many cancers spread via the bloodstream and the entire cardiac output passes through the lungs, it is common for cancer metastases to occur within the lung. Breast cancer may invade directly through local spread, and through lymph node metastases. After metastasis to the liver, colon cancer frequently metastasizes to the lung. Prostate cancer, germ cell cancer and renal cell carcinoma may also metastasize to the lung.
Treatment of respiratory system cancer depends on the type of cancer. Surgery , chemotherapy and radiotherapy are all used. The chance of surviving lung cancer depends on the cancer stage at the time the cancer is diagnosed and is only about 14-17% overall. In the case of metastases to the lung, treatment can occasionally be curative but only in certain, rare circumstances.
Benign tumours are relatively rare causes of respiratory disease. Examples of benign tumours are:
Congenital malformations such as pulmonary sequestration and congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation.
Pleural cavity diseases include emphysema and mesothelioma which are mentioned above.
A collection of fluid in the pleural cavity is known as a pleural effusion. This may be due to fluid shifting from the bloodstream into the pleural cavity due to conditions such as congestive heart failure and cirrhosis. It may also be due to inflammation of the pleura itself as can occur with infection, pulmonary embolus, tuberculosis, mesothelioma and other conditions.
A pneumothorax is a hole in the pleura covering the lung, allowing air in the lung to escape into the pleural cavity. The affected lung “collapses” like a deflated balloon. A tension pneumothorax is a particularly severe form of this condition where the air in the pleural cavity cannot escape, so the pneumothorax keeps getting bigger until it compresses the heart and blood vessels, leading to a life threatening situation.
Pulmonary vascular diseases are conditions that affect the pulmonary circulation.
Pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that forms in a vein, breaks free, travels through the heart and lodges in the lungs. Large pulmonary emboli are fatal, causing sudden death. A number of other substances can also clog the lungs but they are much more rare: fat embolism, amniotic fluid embolism , air embolism (iatrogenic - caused by invasive medical procedures).
Pulmonary arterial hypertension: elevated pressure in the pulmonary arteries. It is most commonlyidiopathic (i.e. of unknown cause) but it can be due to the effects of another disease, particularly COPD. This can lead to a strain on the right side of the heart, a condition known as cor pulmonale.
Pulmonary edema: leakage of fluid from capillaries of the lung into the alveoli (or air spaces). It is usually due to congestive heart failure.
Pulmonary hemorrhage: inflammation and damage to capillaries in the lung resulting in blood leaking into the alveoli. This may cause blood to be coughed up. A pulmonary hemorrhage can be due to auto-immune disorders such as Wegener's Granulomatosis and Goodpasture's syndrome.