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Structure And Function Of The Parts Of The Respiratory System

Diseases and conditions of the respiratory system fall into two categories: viruses, such as influenza, bacterial pneumonia, enterovirus respiratory virus; and chronic diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). According to Dr. Neal Chaisson, who practices pulmonary medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, there is not much that can be done for viral infections but to let them run their course. "Antibiotics are not effective in treating viruses and the best thing to do is just rest," he said.

A doctor may also perform a bronchoscopy by inserting a tube with a light and camera into the airways — the trachea and the bronchial tubes — to examine for bleeding, tumors, inflammation or other abnormalities. A similar procedure is a thoracoscopy, in which a doctor uses an optical device to examine the surfaces of the lungs.

In humans, the average rate of breathing depends on age. A newborn's normal breathing rate is about 40 times each minute and may slow to 20 to 40 times per minute when the baby is sleeping, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

A new nasal swab test measures RNA or protein molecules in human cells and can identify a viral infection, according to a study published Dec. 21, 2017, in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. "It's a simpler test and more cost-effective for looking at viral infection," the author, Dr. Ellen Foxman, assistant professor of laboratory medicine at Yale School of Medicine, told YaleNews. During the test, RNAs predicted viral infection with 97 percent accuracy.

Gallery of structure and function of the parts of the respiratory system

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