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Investigate the functions and dysfunctions of the respiratory system

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Investigate the functions and dysfunctions of the respiratory system The main purpose of the respiratory system is to enrich the blood with oxygen for it to deliver to all the different parts within the body. This is made possible by the process of breathing and the respiratory exchanging gases. Below is a diagram of the different percentages of gas in inhaled and exhaled air. There are also other trace gases, which depends on the environment that the individual is in at the time. Gas exchange Gas % in inhaled air % in exhaled air Oxygen 21 16 Carbon dioxide 0.04 4 Nitrogen 79 79 NB These figures are approximate. (bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize, 27/02/12) This enables cells in the body to be able to convert food into energy, and what the body exhales is a waste product of the cells. Respiration begins at the nose, the nostrils taking in the air, warming and humidifying it, there are also tiny hairs within the nostrils called cilia, and these help protect the respiratory tract from things like dirt and dust that is in the air. The mouth also sometimes takes part in breathing in air; the two openings of the nasal cavity and mouth both meet at the pharynx at the back of the nose and mouth. ...read more.


These are both also a place where gases exchange with the blood, the alveolar membrane being the surface of the gas-exchange. Carbon dioxide is brought from the rest of the body via the blood, to be released into the alveoli. "oxygen in the alveoli is taken up by the blood in the alveolar blood vessels, to be transported to all the cells in the body." (biologymad.com, 27/02/12) The alveoli are made up of some elastic fibers and collagen, this allows them to stretch when taking in oxygen and to spring back to enable them to expel carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide comes out of the same route as the air entered. The diaphragm is also a part of the respiratory system. It helps pull oxygen into the lungs and pump carbon dioxide out. It is a thin sheet of fibrous tissue and muscle and lies at the bottom between the chest cavity and the abdomen. When someone breathes in, muscle fibers contract causing the diagram to flatten, this allows for more air to be able to enter the lungs and helps draw the air in. The diaphragm then relaxes allowing for carbon dioxide to be expelled from the lungs. ...read more.


Asthma can have many effects on the individual with it. This can depend on many factors such as how severe the asthma is, the age in which the symptoms started, the way their activities are limited, the support they get and the way the person copes with it individually. The feeling of not being able to breath can cause a person to become upset and fear for there life. This may lead to anxiety even when a person is not having an attack especially if their attacks are unpredictable. This may also cause them to become too watchful of their actions, they may be worried about carrying out everyday tasks incase it causes them to have an asthma attack. They may also worry about things like their heart beating too fast. They may feel they have lost control in their life. "Asthma can lead to a person to feel out of control in their life" (Managing Long-Term Conditions and Chronic Illness in Primary Care: A Guide to Good Practice, Judith Carrier, 2009, Oxon, page 25). This can cause anger and frustration; they may even feel guilty and be embarrassed about it, especially children who can see that they are 'different' from others. ...read more.

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