For breath is life, and if you breathe well you will live long on earth. -Sanskrit Proverb
What is the Respiratory System? The respiratory system allows gas exchange between air and blood, enables speech, provides the first line of defense against infection, and helps regulate the pH of blood.
Respiratory System Components The respiratory tract consists of the nose, nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles, and alveoli. – Upper Respiratory System: nose, pharynx (everything above the vocal cords!). – Lower Respiratory System: larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs.
How Does the Respiratory System Work? The respiratory tract can be divided into a conducting portion that conducts air into the lungs, and a respiratory portion where gas exchange occurs.
Asthma Asthma is a reversible obstructive lung disease, caused by increased reaction of the airways to various stimuli. In 2007, it was estimated that 22.9 million Americans currently have asthma. Asthma is the most common chronic disorder in childhood, currently affecting an estimated 6.7 million children under 18 years.
Allergies Approximately 50 million Americans suffer from some form of allergic disease, and the number is increasing. Allergies or an allergic reaction is actually a result of a chain reaction that begins in your genes and is expressed by your immune system. This reaction usually causes symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, lining of the stomach or skin. Symptoms of respiratory allergies include sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, wheezing and itchy eyes, nose, and throat.
Pneumonia Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lung most often caused by infection with bacteria, viruses, and other organisms, although there are also non-infectious causes. Pneumonia and influenza together are ranked as the eighth leading cause of death in the United States.
Bronchitis Bronchitis is an inflammation of the main air passages (bronchi) to your lungs. It causes a cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Coughing often brings up yellow or greenish mucus. The most common symptom of bronchitis is a cough.
Emphysema Emphysema begins with the destruction of air sacs in the lungs where oxygen from the air is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the blood. The walls of the air sacs are thin and fragile. As air sacs are destroyed, the lungs are able to transfer less and less oxygen to the bloodstream, causing shortness of breath. Symptoms of emphysema include cough, shortness of breath and a limited exercise tolerance.
COPD COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in America, claiming the lives of 127,049 Americans in 2005. COPD is the only cause of death that has increased in the past 5 years- COPD is a broad term used to describe a group of pulmonary diseases with airflow limitation or the inability to move air out of the lungs. It may feel as if you can’t get air in, but air is actually trapped in the lungs.
COPD The signs and symptoms of COPD include: – An ongoing cough or a cough that produces large amounts of mucus (often called "smoker's cough") – Shortness of breath, especially with physical activity – Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound when you breathe) – Chest tightness
Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency Alpha-1 is caused by the inherited deficiency of a protein called alpha1- antitrypsin (AAT). AAT, produced by the liver, is a "lung protector”. An estimated 100,000 Americans have an Alpha-1 deficiency.
Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency Symptoms of Alpha-1: – Early onset of emphysema (age 45 years or less). – COPD – emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchiectasis. – Family history of any of the following: emphysema/COPD, liver disease or panniculitis. – Asthma with minimal response to medication, inhalers. – Shortness of breath with routine activity. – Cough with or without mucus. – Wheezing. – Liver disease with unknown cause.
Is It in Your Genes? Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency is an inherited disorder, which means it is caused by abnormal genes that can be passed from parents to children.
Treatment Options Visit your healthcare provider to discuss your options. Medications, treatments and therapies are available.
How Do I Keep My Respiratory System Healthy? Stop smoking. Avoid exposure to people who have the flu or other viral infections. Stay up-to-date on vaccinations. Avoid exposure to dust and fumes (including those from household cleaning products). Stay away from second- hand tobacco smoke, air pollution, and other pollutants that may irritate your lungs or increase your risk of lung infection. Exercise regularly. Eat a balanced diet. Practice relaxation techniques.
Questions? If you or someone you know would like to speak with a healthcare provider about what was presented in today’s presentation, please call the Mercy’s physician referral line at (530) 225- 6490. If you would like information on smoking cessation classes or other community wellness classes offered through Mercy Redding, please call Mercy Healthline at (530)24-Mercy. Additional smoking/ tobacco cessation information available through the California Smokers Helpline – 1-800-NO-BUTTS (1-800-662-8887) – 1-800-844-CHEW (1-800-844-2439)
Helpful Websites The following websites have information on about specific diseases, as well as smoking cessation information: – www.nhlbi.nih.gov National Heart Lung and Blood Institute www.nhlbi.nih.gov – www.aafa.org Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America www.aafa.org – www.lung.org American Lung Association www.lung.org – www.aaaai.org American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology www.aaaai.org – www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/hhsa_index/Alcohol_tobacco_and_other_ drugs/Tobacco/tobacco_coalition.aspx Shasta County Tobacco Prevention Coalition www.co.shasta.ca.us/index/hhsa_index/Alcohol_tobacco_and_other_ drugs/Tobacco/tobacco_coalition.aspx