What is the Respiratory System?

The respiratory system helps your body absorb oxygen from the air so your organs can work and cleans waste gases, such as carbon dioxide, from your blood.

This blog will discuss the respiratory system, how it works, how to care for it, and the common illnesses of the respiratory system.

What is the respiratory system?

The respiratory system starts at the nose and mouth and continues through the airways and the lungs. Your airways, lungs and blood vessels make up your respiratory system which is the network of organs and tissues that help you breathe. These body parts work together to move oxygen throughout the body and clean waste gases like carbon dioxide.

The human respiratory system is adjusted to allow air to pass in and out of the body and for efficient gas exchange.

How does the respiratory system work?

Every cell in your body needs oxygen to survive. Oxygen and other gases are present in the air we breathe. The respiratory system's primary job is moving fresh air into our body and removing waste gases.

When oxygen is in the lungs, it is moved into the bloodstream and is carried through our body. It's swapped for carbon dioxide, a waste gas in each body cell. Our respiratory system automatically executes this gas exchange.

In addition, your respiratory system performs other roles vital to breathing. These include:

  • Bringing air to the proper body temperature and moisturising it to the right humidity level
  • Protecting your body from harmful substances by coughing, sneezing, filtering or swallowing them
  • Supporting your sense of smell.

What causes the respiratory system to fail?

Conditions that affect your breathing can cause the respiratory system to fail and may affect the muscles, nerves, bones, or tissues that directly support breathing or the lungs. These conditions include:

  • Diseases that affect the lungs like COPD, cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, and COVID-19
  • Conditions affecting the nerves and muscles that control breathing
  • Drug or alcohol overdose
  • Inhalation injuries, such as from smoke inhalation or harmful fumes
  • Spine problems, such as scoliosis can affect the bones and muscles used for breathing.
  • Damage to the tissues and ribs around the lungs.

How do you keep the respiratory system healthy?

An excellent respiratory system helps ensure you are healthy. Poor respiratory health can affect your quality of life. Here are some ways of keeping your respiratory system healthy:

  • Don't smoke or stop smoking - Smoking is linked to most lung diseases, including COPD, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and asthma. It also makes those diseases more severe.
  • Exercise to breathe harder - Regular exercise is the most important thing you can do for the health of your lungs. It makes your heart beat faster and your lungs work harder.
  • Avoid exposure to pollutants - Exposure to contaminants in the air can damage your lungs and accelerate ageing. Reduce your exposure as much as you can.
  • Prevent infections - Infections can be hazardous for your lungs, especially as you age. Even healthy seniors can quickly develop pneumonia if they're not careful.
  • Breath deeply - Deep breathing helps clear the lungs and creates a full oxygen exchange.

What are the common respiratory diseases?

Respiratory disease affects one in five people and is the third most significant cause of death in England (after cancer and cardiovascular disease). The common respiratory conditions are as follows:

  • Asthma - Patients with asthma experience wheezing, coughing and breathlessness upon exposure to specific triggers.
  • Chronic bronchitis/emphysema (COPD) - Patients with COPD have long-term difficulties with breathlessness, coughing, wheezing, and excess sputum production.
  • Pulmonary fibrosis - is a disease caused by scarring within the lung, and patients usually experience worsening breathlessness and cough.
  • Lung cancer - affects about 35,000 patients in the UK annually and is usually observed in current smokers or who have previously smoked.
  • Tuberculosis - is a lung infection caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis and can infect by exposure to tuberculosis or by reactivation of previous tuberculosis.
  • Cystic fibrosis - is a genetic disorder characterised by repeated chest infections, bowel and liver problems in childhood, and a predisposition towards developing Diabetes, osteoporosis, and reduced fertility as adults.

Where can I find online training courses for respiratory system awareness?

The Mandatory Training Group is the leading UK provider of accredited respiratory system training courses for all sectors, including health and social care, education, local government, private companies, charitable and third sector organisations.

Alternatively, you can contact our helpful Support Team clicking here to tell us more about your training courses for respiratory system awareness.

Online training courses for respiratory system

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Frequently asked questions and answers about respiratory system

Here at The Mandatory Training Group, we receive many questions about respiratory system. We have selected a few of these questions and answered them below.

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What is the Respiratory System? - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

What is the Respiratory System? - The Mandatory Training Group UK.

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