When a person thinks of breathing they only
think of the lungs and not the structures that make up the respiratory tract.
A normal person does not take the time to learn the names of the
individual structure that make up the respiratory system. If a person did
take the time to learn those structures they would find out that there is more
to the respiratory system than the lungs. They would learn that the
respiratory tract has really important structures inside of it. Those
important structures are the Alveoli.
The alveoli are small grape-like structures
that may not sound like they do much but they do more than you would think.
These small structures are where gas exchange takes place, which means
that this is where oxygen is put into the blood and carbon dioxide is taken
out. The alveoli are vital to the respiratory tract for this reason.
Without them you wouldn’t be able to get rid of the carbon dioxide and
you would be able to get oxygen into the blood.
The alveoli have 104mm Hg of pO2 and
the venous blood has 40mm Hg of pO2. The way that the gas is
exchanged is by the oxygen leaving the place of higher pressure to the place of
lower pressure. Which cause the pO2 to go from 40mm Hg to 95mm
Hg, which helps you see that the blood has oxygenated. The pCO2,
which is the waste, is 45mm Hg and the pCO2 that is in the alveolus
is only 40mm Hg.
The disorders and diseases of the alveoli
can have are Emphysema, Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, Pulmonary edema, Respiratory
distress syndrome, and Acute respiratory distress syndrome. Emphysema is
the condition in which the lungs have inflammation that causes the dilation and
destruction of alveoli. Emphysema causes the cellular walls of the air
sacs cause them to harden and lose elasticity. This causes the exhaling
to be harder than inhaling. Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the
alveoli in one or both lungs and can result in the air sacs to fill with pus.
Tuberculosis is an infectious bacterial disease characterized by the
growth of nodules in the tissue of the lungs. Tuberculosis primarily
infects the alveoli as bacteria are inhaled.
edema is a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs, which collect in the
alveoli and can lead to respiratory failure. Acute respiratory distress
syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition that prevents oxygen from
getting to the lungs as fluids begin to accumulate in the alveoli. ARDS is
common in critically ill patients.
Treatments for Emphysema are oxygen
therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, the discontinuation of smoking, and surgery.
There are no drug treatments that have been proven successful. The
treatment for Pneumonia is to learn the symptoms and get or contact a doctor. Antibiotics
and other medication are prescribed to patients that have Pneumonia. The
treatment for Tuberculosis is antibiotic therapy. The treatment for
pulmonary edema is to reduce fluid build-up in the lungs and to restore the
blood oxygen levels. Oxygen therapy is also given. The treatment
also depends on whether or not the pulmonary edema is caused by a heart disease
or a non-cardiac cause. The treatment for ARDS is oxygen, antibiotics, IV
fluids, body positioning.