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Our Respiratory System

The Respiratory System has two main functions: one, the process of breathing (aka ventilation) that brings air from the environment into the lungs and two, the process of gas exchange (the intake of oxygen from the air while dispelling carbon dioxide from the body). These two processes should function normally in tandem for an individual to feel well and perform his or her daily tasks.

However, many conditions can affect the respiratory system and affect the process of breathing or gas exchange (Respiratory Disorders). Generally, respiratory disorders require early diagnosis and treatment as any long-term impairment of the two vital functions of the respiratory system can have deleterious impact on one’s health and well-being.

Respiratory Medicine is an established specialty in Medicine that distinctly focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the Respiratory System.

Our Respiratory Tract
Our Respiratory System consists of structures in the Upper and Lower Respiratory Tracts. The upper respiratory tract consists of structures such as the nose, oral cavity, throat, and voice box. The lower respiratory tract consists of the air passages that conduct air, namely, the trachea (wind-pipe) and bronchi (smaller air passages) and the left and right lung. Any one or more of these structures in the upper and lower respiratory tract, if aversely affected, e.g., by infection or allergy, can give rise to respiratory symptoms such as cough or breathlessness.

Our bodily functions are interrelated for our health and well-being: malfunctioning structures in the respiratory system can thus give rise to problems in other parts of body [example: Sleep Apnoea and Cardiovascular Disease]. Furthermore, disorders of other systems of the body may also lead to the inability of our respiratory system to perform the normal functions of ventilation and gas exchange [example: Muscular weakness causing respiratory failure.] 



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