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RESPIRATORY TRACT
RESPIRATORY TRACT
HOME / RESPIRATORY TRACT

The respiratory tract is comprised of nasal cavity, nasopharynx, throat, trachea and finally lungs. The inhaled air is moisturized, heated, cleared and afterwards conveyed into the lungs through nasopharynx and throat. Oxygen in the air that is inhaled is diffused into the blood via tiny bubble-like chambers, which are the smallest units of the lungs. The heart pumps the clean oxygenated blood to the whole body. Throat and the esophagus delivers the food eaten to our digestive system. Throat is the intersectional joint passage of respiration and digestion channels.

Nose, airways and lungs are an integrated unit. Mouth, throat and digestion system form another unit. The most fundamental function of the nose is inhalation. If the air breathed through the nose is flowing freely within an adequate resistance, the final unit of our respiratory system, which is our lungs, will percieve that the air was iniatially breathed in through suitable passage and try the absorbe it. This happens automatically. If the mouth, which is substitute for the nose, is utilized for breathing instead of the nose, that sense of absorbtion does not generate.

Body needs sleep to rest and get ready for the next day. Coordination of the members in respiratory tract during sleep ensures the delivery of appropriate and enough amount of oxygen to the heart and blood by the lungs, which is the last element in that tract. This breathing process may be interrupted mainly at two phases. These are nasal congestions and insufficient air transmission through throat to the lungs due to respiratory failure or snoring. When the breathing function of the nose is ignored, the oxygenation of the lungs will be less than the necessary amount during sleep at nights. Air is conveyed into the lungs via the joint passage of inhalation and digestion. The amount of oxygen in the clean blood flow is adversely affected from that condition.

Every individual over the age of forty should see an ENT physician for respiratory system examination. This examination of throat and respiratory tract might manifest some aging-related problems which might have remained innocuous and unnoticed in youth. An ENT specialist can easily determine the problems in the nasal cavity and throat by direct viewing.

Problems due to the flexibility loss of structural irregularities in the nasal cavity may cause decreased air flow or nasal obstruction by age. The tunnel in the nasal cavity, is equally divided into two by a wall shape structure that is comprised of bone and cartilage. Theses anterior nostrils open up to nasal fossae via right and left tunnels and posterior nostrils. On the side walls of both tunnels, there are air conditions of the nose and nasal polyps. In this anatomical mechanism, any irregularity or overgrowth of the nasal polyps or septal deviation cause insufficient respiration through the nose. Also the swelling of the mucosa, which cover the inside of the nose, ployps and sinusitis will also cause nasal congestion that would lead to functional impairment of the tube where the oxygenation of the body starts.

The nose, with its inner and outer structures, is comprised of bones and cartilages and serves as a buffer zone. Except for conchae on the lateral walls, that assume ventilation duty for the nose, the nose usually consists of stable structures. Whereas the throat, which happens the be a crossroad for respiratory and digestive systems, is formed of soft tissues, lacking any  bones or cartilages. During swallowing process, thrusting movements of these soft tissues, push the food in the mouth towards esophagus.  

Apart from the state of sleep, under normal circumstances, throat and throat muscles are in control of the individual. You can swallow or stick out your tongue. You can turn your thoughts into action. But during sleep this control is lost. By aging, the floppiness of droopy soft tissues in the throat, which is a part of respiratory tract, cause vibrations while sleeping. These vibrations, which are perceived as noise, actually are snoring. Increased weight gain by age also contributes to this condition. A night sleep, especially deep sleep, is the period of time when the whole body, except the respiratory muscles, sleeps and rests. The muscle tonus in the throat vanishes during sleep. Under normal circumstances, air flow through the throat does not develop snoring without any anatomic deformity or floppiness. But saggy soft tissues, irregularities in anatomic substructures that might induce snoring or weight excess may complicate the easy air flow. Ardous breathing creates snoring. When a person snores, sometimes the tissues in the throat region collapse and be a reason for interruption of oxygen flow to the lungs. In such case, sleep apnea – shortness of breath in sleep – becomes a consideration. And again, direct examination and endoscopic evaluation by a specialist, will determine whether you have any indications of such disease or not.

Nasal obstructions and airway interceptions deprive us of sufficient oxygen and leave us with a poor sleep, which happens to be the state we are in for 1/3 time period of our lifespan. As a result of that, a series of complaints arises, such as getting up unrested, mornin headaches, sleepiness in daytime, dozing off at inconvenient places, nervousness, forgetfulness, depression and etc. Besides that, prolonged oxygen deficiency within respiratory tract might as well cause earlier existence of borderline heart diseases, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and cerebral stroke. Providing more favorable, functional and adequately oxygenated respiratory tract unity would be possible with your awareness and your doctor’s assisstance.    

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