Respiratory system disorders
Hammar, Samuel P. Diagnostic Specialties Laboratory, Bremerton, Washington.
Last reviewed:August 2019
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- Symptoms and signs
- Diseases of the air passages
- Diseases of the lungs
- Pulmonary circulatory diseases
- Neuromuscular diseases
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Dysfunction of the respiratory system, which supplies the body with the oxygen needed for metabolic activities in the cells and removes carbon dioxide, a product of cellular metabolism. The respiratory system (Fig. 1) includes the nose, mouth, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, and the muscles of respiration, such as the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm. The inspiratory movements of the chest wall and diaphragm suck air through the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, and bronchi into the lung alveoli, where it comes into close contact with the blood circulating in the capillaries and gas exchange occurs. During expiration, this air is expelled through the same pathway. For proper respiratory function, the right ventricle of the heart pumps venous blood, containing carbon dioxide, through the pulmonary arteries into the lung capillaries, where gaseous exchanges between the blood and air occur. The arterial or oxygenated blood is then drained through the pulmonary veins into the left atrium. Serious and often life-threatening consequences can result when respiratory system disorders occur. See also: Carbon dioxide; Lung; Metabolism; Oxygen; Respiration; Respiratory system
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