Respiratory System Diseases

To deeply understand which diseases affect our respiratory system, we need to first define what the “respiratory system” is, which organs it comprises of and which function they have.The respiratory system is made up of several structures that start from the nasal cavities and reach the pulmonary alveoli; these structures allow environmental air to reach the blood to give it oxygen to receive carbon dioxide in exchange. Oxygen allows for the performance of almost all the chemical reactions that are necessary to live, whilst carbon dioxide is a waste product from the same chemical reactions performed.

malattie-respiratorie_1The respiratory system starts with the nose and continues with pharynges, larynges, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and finally the pulmonary alveoli, which form the lungs. All of these organs form the airways that once were divided into “upper” airways (nose, pharynges and larynges) and lower airways (bronchi and lungs); the trachea was a sort of “middle land.” Nowadays, this distinction is less used because the system is considered as a whole and this affects the evolution of pathologies that hit the single components. Such a complex structure constantly in contact with the external environment (inspired air) is potentially exposed to the aggression of viruses and bacteria while also constantly in contact with potentially allergenic substances; obviously, the system is naturally equipped with mechanical defenses and systems that correct the physical characteristics of inhaled air.It’s this vulnerability that turns into diseases mainly due to infections, but which can be favored by bad lifestyle choices, such as smoking.

malattie-respiratorie_2The most frequent pathologies hit the nose (rhinitis), the pharynges, the larynges and trachea (pharyngitis, laryngitis and tracheitis), the bronchi (bronchitis) and the lungs (pneumonia). Starting from the nose, the more the infection goes down the more it is dangerous.As we said, these pathologies have mainly an infective cause, but we should not forget this; due to its characteristic of being an “interface” with the external world, the respiratory system is easily subject to allergic pathologies.Respiratory pathologies can be acute or chronic; the chronic form can also have new acute phases.



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