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Respiratory Disorders


Respiration is one of the most important functions in the human body. It provides oxygen, which is the basic requirement of all the living cells of the body.
The respiratory system is composed of the following parts, which have assigned functions that ensure a smooth and efficient working of the respiratory system.

Nose and nasal cavity : The nose and nasal cavity warm and filter the inhaled air and also provide moisture to it.

Pharynx : The throat divides into a trachea(windpipe) and a oesophagus(food pipe) at the pharynx.

Larynx : Larynx is the part where sound is generated. It also produces cough reflex. Trachea filters and carries air from throat to lungs.

Bronchi : Bronchi are two tubules that branch out from trachea to enter the left and right lungs respectively, and supply the inhaled air to the lungs.

Bronchioles : The bronchi divide into tertiary bronchi and then further into bronchioles. These Bronchioles lead to the alveolar sacs.

Alveoli : These alveolar sacs have individual cavities within them called alveoli. These alvioli pass gas to surrounding capillaries.

Diaphragm : Diaphragm, which is located below the lungs is the main muscle involved in the process of inhalation.

Any problems in the functioning of this system can lead to respiratory disorders. Non-infectious respiratory disorders can be primarily classified into three groups:

  • Obstructive conditions
  • Restrictive conditions
  • Vascular disorders

Some common respiratory disorders
Snoring is a disorder which causes noisy breathing during sleep due to blocked or narrowed naso-pharynx.

Asthma is caused due to effect of allergens like dust, pollen, pet fur etc. It causes shortness of breath and wheezing due to sporadic narrowing of the airways.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
This disorder is caused due to smoking and exposure to a highly polluted environment. The airways and tissues of lungs are damaged resulting in shortness of breath and wheezing.

Pulmonary embolism
Formation of blood clots can obstruct the blood flow to the lungs, and this leads to pulmonary embolism. This can be due to smoking, excessive use of oral contraceptives and long periods of immobility.

Silicosis and asbestosis
Both these are occupational respiratory disorder that are triggered due to inhalation of  or excessive exposure to silica dust and asbestos particles respectively. It can lead to several lung diseases and lung cancer too.

Respiratory failure
Abnormally low levels of oxygen in the blood cause damage to the lungs. In extreme situations very less oxygen and increased amount of carbon dioxide can prove to be fatal.

By the age of 60 years, around 60% of men and 40% of women start snoring