Get to know your respiratory system!
The respiratory system is a part of our bodies that is made up of organs and tissues. Its main function is helping us breathe and absorbing oxygen from the air we take in so that it can be used by the other organs of our body. The respiratory system is also responsible for removing carbon dioxide from our blood.
What is the respiratory system?
The respiratory system is a network of organs and tissues that help us breathe. Our respiratory system is made up of our airways, lungs, and blood vessels as well as the muscles that support these. The respiratory system is what carries the oxygen to different parts of our body and is what removes carbon dioxide from our blood.
The respiratory system is also in charge of:
- Allowing us to taste and smell
- Delivering oxygen to our cells
- Removing “waste gases” including carbon dioxide from the air we breathe
- Protecting our airways from irritants in the air we breathe
What are the parts of the respiratory system?
The respiratory system is divided into two parts: the upper respiratory tract and the lower respiratory tract.
The upper respiratory tract consists of:
The lower respiratory tract consists of:
What are the diseases of the respiratory system?
The respiratory system can suffer from various diseases. Some are from irritants from the air we breathe while others are caused by virus or bacteria that may lead to infections. Some diseases, on the other hand, are due to old age, such as the weakening of the lungs.
Some of the diseases that may affect the respiratory system are:
- Infection (infections can lead to pneumonia or bronchitis. Infections often begin from the flu or common cold)
- Respiratory disease such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD)
- Weakening of the lungs due to old age
- Degeneration of the respiratory system due to other diseases or habits such as smoking
What are the symptoms of respiratory diseases?
Because respiratory diseases affect different parts of the respiratory system, the symptoms to watch out for differs from disease to disease. Here are some of the common symptoms the diseases share:
- Shortness of breath
- Continuous coughing
- Wet or productive cough
- Dry cough
- Tightening of the chest
- Quick and shallow breathing
- Hoarse voice
- Recurring infections
What are the causes of respiratory diseases?
Respiratory diseases have different causes. Some of which are:
- Allergens such as dust and smoke
- Virus like the flu or common cold
- Pollution in the air
- Repeated use of tobacco products such as cigarettes
- Old age
What are the drugs for respiratory disorders?
The correct medication to be used will depend on the respiratory disease being treated. The following can be used with the approval of your doctor:
- Expectorants and mucolytics that melt the phlegm and make it easier to cough out
- Antibiotics that target infections
- Inhalers for asthma
- Antihistamine for allergies