Good Respiratory System Research Paper Example
Type of paper: Research Paper
Topic: Medicine, Health, Disease, Air, Body, System, Tract, Urinary System
The human body consists of cells which are responsible for the processes that take place inside the body. A group of cells with the same function is termed as tissues. Tissues with similar functions is grouped together to form a system. One of the systems of the body is the Respiratory System which is known to allow respiration to occur. The process of gas exchange between the air and the blood and between the cells and the lungs is called respiration. Respiration plays a key role on body’s physiology since all of the cells in the body need oxygen to carry out the body’s normal activities and produce carbon dioxide as an exchange product. Aside from gas exchange, the respiratory system also aids in performing other body functions like protection against foreign invaders such as microorganisms, olfaction or the sense of smell, production of voice for speech and sound, and even the regulation of the blood’s pH (Seeley et al 2008).
The respiratory system consists of two main parts namely the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract. The parts of the body that make up the upper respiratory tract are the nasus, pharynx, and other structures related to them while the body parts that make up the lower respiratory tract are the larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and the lungs. Nasus or commonly referred to as the nose is composed of two parts namely the external nose and the cavity of the nose. The visible part of the nasus mainly consisting of plates of hyaline cartilage is located in the middle of the face. On the other hand, the nasal cavity is the space inside the nose which is bordered by the nares and the choanae. Some of the functions of the nasal cavity are acting as the passageway for the movement of air, cleaning the air that passes through it, and warming and dampening of cold air to avoid possible damage to other respiratory structures. Connected to the nasus is the pharynx which is an opening for both respiratory and digestive systems. Pharynx consists of three main parts namely the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx. The main respiratory function of the pharynx is to direct the flow of air from the nose to the larynx. Larynx is provides passage for air from the pharynx to the trachea. It is composed of nine cartilages and has four main roles in the process of respiration specifically 1) the prevention of blockage or closure of the passageway for air by the structures found in the larynx, 2) the prevention of swallowed materials from entering the respiratory tract, 3) production of sounds by the vocal cords located in the larynx, and 4) prevention of debris found in the air from entering the lower respiratory tract by the production of mucus. The larynx is connected to a membranous tube composed of smooth muscles, dense regular connective tissues, and 15-20 hyaline cartilages which is referred to as the trachea. Trachea acts as a passageway of air between the larynx and the bronchi. Like the larynx, the epithelium of the trachea produces mucus to prevent inhaled debris from entering the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is followed by the primary bronchi which can be further divided into secondary bronchi and tertiary bronchi. These bronchi also acts as a passageway for air. Further branching of the bronchi lead to the establishment of the bronchioles which will then lead to the alveoli. Alveoli can be described as small chambers where exchange of gases occur. The major organ of the respiratory system is the lung which is conical in shape and composed of two (left) or three (right) lobes (Seeley et al 2008).
Like the other systems of the human body, there are also diseases and conditions associated to the respiratory system. These conditions can be classified either as viral or chronic. Viral diseases is defined by the National Institutes of Health (2014) as illnesses caused by different types of viruses while a chronic disease is defined by the Center for Managing Chronic Disease (n.d.) as a long term illness that is impossible to cure and can only be controlled to prevent from worsening. Majority of the viral diseases affect the upper respiratory tract hence the term Upper Respiratory Tract Iinfection (URTI). Some of the common URTIs are epiglottitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, and bronchitis. Epiglottitis is a viral illness which is characterized by the swelling of the epiglottis. This should not be taken lightly since the inflammation of the epiglottis can lead to the blockage of trachea which prevents the flow of air into the lungs. On the other hand, the illness that affects the sinuses is referred to as sinusitis which is also characterized by swelling of the sinuses. The irritation of the vocal cords is commonly known as laryngitis. Laryngitis is characterized by swelling of the vocal cords found in the larynx which causes distortion of sounds produced by the individual. Lastly, bronchitis is characterized by the inflammation of the bronchi located immediately after the trachea. These infections have very similar signs and symptoms such as cephalalgia, pyrexia, sore throat, and wheezing (Zimmermann 2014).
Aside from the viral infections, there are also a number of chronic diseases associated with the respiratory system. Some of these chronic respiratory diseases include asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Asthma is characterized by long term swelling of the lung airways which can manifest through panting, breathing difficulty, and coughing (Zimmermann 2014). According to Seeley et al (2014), the manifestations brought about by asthma is due to the severe narrowing of the bronchioles. Another chronic disease mentioned is COPD which affects persons with both emphysema and bronchitis. The swelling of the bronchi and the destruction of the alveolar walls manifested in this disease lead to permanent changes in the surface area and elasticity of the lungs and the gas exchange.
Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health, 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2015. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/viralinfections.html>
Seeley, R.R., T.D. Stephens, and P. Tate. Anatomy and Physiology. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2008. Print.
What is Chronic Disease?. Center for Managing Chronic Disease, 2011. Web. 12 Apr. 2015. <http://cmcd.sph.umich.edu/what-is-chronic-disease.html>
Zimmermann, Kim Ann. Respiratory System: Facts, Function, and Diseases. Live Science, 01 Oct. 2014. Web. 12 Apr. 2015. < http://www.livescience.com/22616-respiratory-system.html>