The respiratory system is a significant part of the human anatomy. This system contains two of our body’s most important organs: the lungs. Even though the lungs are the most well-known part of this system there are many parts to the respiratory system that work toward gas exchange. There is an upper and a lower respiratory system. Both systems contribute to different parts of our body’s respiratory system and ability to breath. There is also a risk for many different diseases in both the upper and lower respiratory systems. The human body needs to breath to survive and we need to learn how that is possible to provide the best care.
“The primary function of the respiratory system is the continuous absorption of oxygen (O2) and the excretion of carbon dioxide (CO2)” (Kacmarek, Stoller, & Heuer, (2016). The upper part of the respiratory system consists of the following parts: the nose, mouth, pharynx, and larynx. The lower respiratory system consists of the larynx, trachea, bronchi, and the lungs. The nose is in charge of warming or cooling air, filtering air, and humidifying the air before it begins the journey down into the other parts of the respiratory system. It is one of the entrances of the respiratory system. The nose consists of two nostrils/nares that are separated by a septum so there is one on each side and each has a nasal cavity. The nose also holds our body’s sense of smell. The mouth is also known as the oral cavity and it consists of the tongue and the vestibule. The oral cavity and the nose lead to the next part of the upper respiratory the pharynx (Jardins, 2013).
The pharynx consists of three parts: the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx. The nasopharynx is at the back of the nose. It consists of adenoids to the back and the pharyngotympanic (auditory) tubes laterally. The adenoids protect against bacteria and the pharyngotympanic (auditory) tubs equalize the pressure in our middle ears and help with hearing. The oropharynx is between the tongue and soft palate. It consists of the palatine tonsils that are located on both sides towards the back of the oral cavity. The lingual tonsil is located at the posterior base of the tongue while the vallecular epiglottal is located at the back of the oropharynx. The laryngopharynx is between the tongue and the esophagus. The epiglottis is anterior to the laryngopharynx. There is also the aryepiglottic folds that are on larynx, but come from the epiglottis. They assist with swallowing. The last part of the upper airway is the larynx which is also part of the lower airway (Jardins, 2013).
The larynx is also known as the voice box because it helps create our ability to speak through sound. It is at the base of the tongue and the upper part of the trachea. It leads into the lower part of the respiratory system through the trachea. The larynx has three cartilages that are paired and three that are not paired. The three that are paired are arytenoid, corniculate, and cuneiform cartilages. The three unpaired are thyroid, cricoid, and the epiglottis. The anterior of the larynx has mucus membranes. The larynx leads to the trachea which is a part of the cartilaginous airway (Jardins, 2013). “The trachea is 11 to 13 centimeters long and 1.5 to 2.5 cemeteries in diameter” (Jardins, 2013). The trachea divides the main stem bronchi into the left and right lungs and is made up of cartilage that is incomplete towards the back because the esophagus is there sharing a membrane with the trachea. The trachea leads to the main stem bronchi. (Jardins, 2013).
The bronchi are one of the largest parts of the respiratory system. The main stem bronchi are the first part and it branches off the trachea and goes into the left and right lungs. The right side is wider than the left side. The lobar bronchi stems from the main bronchi and goes into the 3 right lung lobes and 2 left lung lobes. The third part that stems from the lobar bronchi is the segmental bronchi. There are 10 in the right lung and 8 in the left lung. Subsegmental bronchi are divided into the 4th and 9th parts of the bronchi branches and are 1 to 4 millimeters in diameter (Jardins, 2013).
The bronchioles are the next part of the lower respiratory system. They are one millimeter in diameter and are not covered in connective tissues. They are between the 9th and 10th bronchi generations and lack airway support. Below these are the terminal bronchioles. This stop between the 16th and 19th generations. They are 0.5 millimeters in diameter and are responsible for the gas exchange. Both of these are a part of the noncartilaginous airways. The lungs are the final part of the lower respiratory system (Jardins, 2013).
The lungs consist of the right and the left lung. The right lung has upper, middle, and lower lobes while the left has only the upper and lower lobes. The upper lobe of the right lung has the apical which is known as the 1st segment, the posterior which is the 2nd and the anterior which is the 3rd. The middle lobe has the lateral 4th and the medial 5th segments. The lower lobe has the 6th superior segment, medial basal 7th segment, the lateral basal 8th, and lateral basal 9th segments, and the 10th posterior basal segment. The left upper lung lobe has the upper and lower division. In the upper division, there is the 1stand 2nd apical /posterior segment and then the third anterior segment. The lower division has 4th superior lingua and 5th inferior lingua segments. The lower lobe has the 6th superior, the anterior/medical basal 7th, and 8th segments, the 9th lateral basal segment, and the 10th posterior basal segment. The left lung is smaller than the right because it has a notch near it for the heart. (Jardins, 2013). The right lung is said to hold 60 percent gas exchange ability while the left lung is said to hold 40 percent due to the differences in size (Kacmarek, Stoller, ; Heuer, (2016).
An upper respiratory system disease that can occur in the upper airway is otitis media or an ear infection in the middle ear. This infection is common in children. The infection develops in the mucous membranes of the pharynx and travels to the pharyngotympanic tubes to the mucus lining of the middle part of the ear. Because in children these tubs are horizontal, they cannot drain if there is inflammation or fluid back up which can lead to infection. Clinical manifestations of otitis media can include an inflamed and bulging eardrum, irritability, hearing loss, lethargy, and a low fever. Otitis media can be treated by medicines like antibiotics or myringotomy which relieves pressure through a small tube that drains the middle ear and comes out on its own. (Jardins, 2013). The reason I picked this disease is because of my nephew. One day last week he was fine and the next day he was crying and pulling on his ears. The otitis media just seemed to occur very quickly with almost no warning signs. He was given oral antibiotics and he was back to normal in 3 to 4 days.
A disease that affects the lower respiratory system is bronchiolitis. This infection is common most in children. Bronchiolitis is an infection that is in the lower respiratory system that is caused by the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Clinical manifestations of bronchiolitis can include a small fever, cough, dyspnea and tachypnea, hyperinflation of the lungs, obstruction, and inflammation of the bronchioles and small bronchi. Treatment can include taking decongestions by mouth and humidification. It can also include hydration, nasal cannulation oxygenation, croup tent, assistance with airway clearance, and oxygen hood. Antibiotics can also be given and tracheobronchial aspiration can be done in more severe settings (Kacmarek, Stoller, ; Heuer, (2016). Bronchiolitis also has another possible cause that is being researched. ” An increased risk for respiratory system diseases has been demonstrated in the first three months in infants with low vitamin D levels in the cord blood at birth” “Vitamin D plays a role in immune system activation, it helps to prevent infections caused by microorganisms. Studies have shown a relationship between the severity of bronchiolitis, increased hospitalization, and vitamin D deficiency” (Erol et al., 2017). This led researchers to believe that expecting mothers need to be carefully monitored for vitamin D deficiency in order to prevent complications in their newborn’s respiratory health (Erol et al., 2017).
The respiratory system is vital for our bodies’ ability to perform the gas exchange our body needs in order to breathe. It is made up of many parts that all have specific jobs to perform. The upper and lower repository system both have many different anatomy parts that contribute to the respiratory system. They are also at risk for many different diseases. In conclusion without each part functioning well and with proper care, it could greatly put our ability to breathe normally at risk.