Function of the Respiratory System Primary function is the inhalation of oxygen from the air which supplies oxygen to the blood. The blood then travels through the body delivering the oxygen to the rest of the body. Through exhaling of air, carbon dioxide is also exhaled carrying the gas away from the body.
Where does the gas exchange take place? Gas exchange only takes place in the alveolus in the lungs An adult has around 300 million alveoli between their two lungs
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) COPD is one of the most common lung diseases There are two forms of COPD though most people have a combination of both forms – Chronic bronchitis – Emphysema
What Causes COPD? Smoking is the main cause of patients with COPD Exposure to certain gases or fumes in the patients place of employment A person that is exposed to heavy amounts of secondhand smoke and pollution is at risk of COPD Frequent use of gas stoves for cooking with out proper ventilation can also cause COPD
Symptoms of COPD Cough with mucus Shortness of breath that gets worse with mild activity Fatigue Frequent respiratory infections Wheezing
Complications of COPD Irregular heart beats Need for breathing machine and oxygen therapy Right sided heart failure or heart swelling Pneumonia Severe weight loss and malnutrition
Diagnosing COPD The Spirometry lung function test is the best way to diagnose COPD
Other ways to Diagnose COPD Using a stethoscope to listen to the lungs can sometimes be helpful, but in some cases lungs with COPD sound normal A Chest X-ray can be performed, but sometimes comes back looking normal when the patient actually has COPD A blood test or a “Blood Gas” may be taken to measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide in the patients blood
Is there a cure for COPD? There is no cure for COPD. Patients with COPD can only use medication, life style changes, and surgical treatment to relieve symptoms and keep the disease from getting worse.
Medication Inhalers Steroids by mouth or intravenously may be administered during a flare up Antibiotics are given during flare ups to prevent infections that could progress the condition Home oxygen is prescribed for patients with low levels of oxygen in their blood
Life Style Changes One must stop smoking when diagnosed with COPD. Quitting smoking is the best way to slow down lung damage.
Other Life Style Changes Avoiding Very cold air Making sure no one smokes in your house Eat a healthy diet to keep your weight up – Doctors and Dietitians are available to help with finding food with more calories to help keep your weight up Reducing air pollution by eliminating fireplace smoke and other irritants in the home – Use an air purifier to reduce the amount of dust and other pollutants in the air
Surgical Treatments Surgery can be done to remove parts of the diseased lung. This procedure is for the patients suffering from emphysema. A lung transplant can be performed in severe cases.
References Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (n.d.). Google Health. Retrieved January 8, 2011, from https://health.google.com/health/ref/Chronic+obstru ctive+pulmonary+disease Gaseous Exchange In Humans | Tutorvista.com. (n.d.). Tutorvista.com - Online Tutoring, Homework Help for Math, Science, English from Best Online Tutor. Retrieved January 8, 2011, from http://www.tutorvista.com/content/biology/biology- iv/respiration-animals/gaseous-exchange-humans.php Respiratory System. (2010, December 16). RCN D.C. Metro | High-Speed Internet, Digital Cable TV & Phone Service Provider. Retrieved January 8, 2011, from http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPag es/P/Pulmonary.html