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Diseases of the Respiratory System. Infections of the Respiratory tract. Most common entry point for infections Upper respiratory tract nose, nasal cavity, sinuses, mouth, throat Lower respiratory tract Trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli in the lungs. Fig. 21.1a.

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infections of the respiratory tract
Infections of the Respiratory tract
  • Most common entry point for infections
  • Upper respiratory tract
    • nose, nasal cavity, sinuses, mouth, throat
  • Lower respiratory tract
    • Trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli in the lungs

Protective Mechanisms

Clearance of particles

and organisms from the respiratory tract

Cilia and microvilli move

particles up to the throat 

where they are swallowed.

Alveolar macrophages

migrate and engulf particles

and bacteria in the alveoli

deep in the lungs.

other protective mechanisms
Other Protective Mechanisms
  • Nasal hair
  • Mucus
  • Involuntary responses (coughing)
  • Immune cells
  • Strengthening the respiratory system through exercise helps to strengthen the muscles of the body including the heart and diaphragm.
  • Vigorous activities can increase lung capacity and help your body use oxygen more effectively.
common disorders of the respiratory system
Common Disorders of the Respiratory System

Common Cold- coughing, sneezing and sore throat. A cold can be caused by many different things such as different viruses and bacterial infections of the lining in the nose and throat.

Sinusitis- caused by viruses or bacteria in which the sinuses become swollen and irritated. The sinuses provide a moist air space around the nose, when they become inflammed you may notice a change in your voice. It is often by a stuffy, runny nose, pain or swelling in the eyes and cheekbones and pressure in the head

strep throat
Strep Throat
  • Fever
  • Tonsillitis
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Middle-ear infection

Influenza- also called the flu, is a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. It can develop into pneumonia, which is a serious infection of the lungs.

bacterial pneumonia
Bacterial Pneumonia

Bacterial, viral or fungal infection can cause Inflammation of the lung with fluid filled alveoli

bacterial pneumonia1
Bacterial Pneumonia
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
    • 2/3 of all pneumonia
    • Risk Factors- old age, season, underlying
    • viral infection, diabetes, alcohol and narcotic use
    • Variable capsular antigen
    • Purified component (capsule) vaccine
  • Others that cause pneumonia:
  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Legionella pneumophila
  • Description-Chronic disorder of the respiratory tract which cause the airways to be narrowed. The condition can be life threatening if untreated.
  • Causes- pollution exposure, cigarette smoke, extremely cold air, drugs and infections (viruses/bacteria)
  • Treatment- no real cure, controlling the condition is best. For example, a “puffer”, which helps the airways expand.
  • Description-when bronchioles or the airways that connect the alveoli and the trachea become irritated or infected and swell to produce excess mucus.
  • Symptoms- wheezing, coughing, difficulty breathing, fevers, chills.

Causes-exposure to pollutants, cigarette smoke, virus, bacteria, harsh chemicals…

  • Treatments- If the case is bacterial a person can take antibiotics, if it is viral then they just have to wait it out and get lots of rest, aspirin and ibuprofen can help aid in the flu like symptoms associated with the illness, a cool vaporizer or humidifier can help alleviate bronchial irritation.
  • Description- Is a bacterial infection caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. The disease can be spread person to person when breathing in particles of infected air.
  • Symptoms- The bacteria gets in the lungs and causes an infection, coughing up mucus, weight loss, fever, chest pains…
  • Primary
    • Lung tubercles, caseous, tuberculin skin reaction
  • Secondary (reactivation)
    • Consumption: Coughing and chronic weight loss
  • Dissemination
    • Extrapulmonary TB (lymph nodes, kidneys, bones, genital tract, brain, meninges)

Treatment- requires long antibiotic treatment with “cocktail” of antibiotics because

of the resistance that develops.


Symptoms- breath and heart rate increase, body becomes stressed and fatigued.

Treatment- bronchodilators, corticosteroids, oxygen and antibiotics.

  • Description-means over inflated lungs
  • Cause-occurs when cilia lining the airways is damaged. Since they no longer filter and channel particles, the bronchioles become clogged and less air reaches the alveoli. Air pressure builds up causing the lungs to appear inflated. The pressure eventually tears the walls of the alveoli.
    • On page #338 read about Cystic Fibrosis. Determine the description, causes, symptoms and treatment options for a person with CF.
    • On page 339 read about the technologies used in the diagnosis of respiratory diseases. Give a brief description of each.