Everycell, tissue, and organ in the body requires oxygen for metabolism.The Carbon (IV) Oxide produced during the metabolism process must beexcreted from the body. The primary respiratory system function isgaseous exchange by supplying oxygen to all the body tissues throughthe blood and expelling the Carbon (IV) Oxide produced duringmetabolism (Healthline, 2015). Respiratory system organs also play anenormous role in speech as well as the perception of the sense ofpong. The larynx contains the vocal cords that produce sound whilethe nose contains the olfactory nerve ending that is for detectingsmell.
Therespiratory system is made up of air passages, the lungs, pulmonaryvessels, the breathing muscles, and the diaphragm (Healthline, 2015).The upper respiratory tract is made up of the nose, pharynx,and the larynx.The nose contains mucus that filters and moistens the inspired air.The lower respiratory tract is made up of the trachea, bronchi,lungs, and the diaphragm (Brunner, Suddarth & Smeltzer, 2008).The trachea and bronchi are the central routes for air towards thelungs. The lungs are made up of alveoli that form the site forgaseous exchange. The diaphragm is the chief breathing muscle. Otherrespiratory muscles include the intercostal muscles.
Thecycle of breathing has three phases: inhalation, expiration, and apause (Hogan & Carranti, 2009). During inspiration, the diaphragmcontracts and flattens. The intercostal muscles also contractsimultaneously with the diaphragm to increase the capacity of thethoracic cavity. The ‘chest pressures’ become lower than theatmospheric pressure drawing air into the lungs (Hogan &Carranti, 2009). Inspired air first passes through the nose whereparticles are filtered, warmed and moistened by the mucus present inthe nose. It then moves to the lungs via the trachea and the bronchi.The air fills the alveoli have a huge surface area for exchange ofgasses.
Theinspired air is richer in oxygen than the blood in the pulmonaryvessels which is rich is Carbon (IV) Oxide. Oxygen then diffuses fromthe inspired air and dissolves into the blood, Carbon (IV) Oxide, onthe other hand, diffuses out of the blood into the alveoli and isexcreted from the body through exhalation. During expiration, theintercostal and diaphragm relaxes. The rib cage moves downward andinward while the diaphragm membrane takes a dome shape. Pressureinside the lungs exceeds the atmospheric pressure expelling air outof the thoracic cavity (Hogan & Carranti, 2009). Afterexpiration, there is a pause before the next inspiration.
Asthmais an important pathological condition that afflicts the respiratorysystem. Asthma is an inflammatory disease characterized byhyper-responsiveness of the airways, mucosal edema, bronchialconstriction, and excess mucus secretion during an exacerbation(Brunner, Suddarth & Smeltzer, 2008). During an asthmaticattack, the patient experiences difficulty in breathing, wheezing,and tightness of the chest due to the narrowing of the airways.Triggers of an asthmatic attack are by cold, strong odors, smoke,exercising, infections of the airway, pollen grains, and fur(Healthline, 2015). These allergens trigger inflammation leading toreversible airway obstruction by anti-inflammatory medications suchas Salbutamol.
Inconclusion, the ‘RespiratorySystem’is separated into the upper and lower respiratory tract. The overallrespiratory system is responsible for gaseous exchange in the body.The exchanged gases are oxygen and Carbon (IV) Oxide. Oxygen is takeninto the body through inhalation and utilized to produce energy andCarbon (IV) Oxide excreted through exhalation with various body partsinvolved in the process. However, an exacerbation of asthma canimpair this process of respiration and prevent breathing through thenarrowing of airways. If no intervention, is made to reverse theairway obstruction asthma can be fatal and lead to death.
Brunner,L., Suddarth, D., & Smeltzer, S. (2008). Brunner & Suddarth`stextbook of medical-surgical nursing. Philadelphia: LippincottWilliams & Wilkins.
Healthline.com,(2015). Respiratory System Anatomy, Diagram & Function. Retrieved13 November 2015, fromhttp://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/respiratory-system
Hogan,M., & Carranti, B. (2009). Anatomy & physiology. Upper SaddleRiver, N.J.: Pearson Education.