Medical Science - Other

Factors that Affect Respiration

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"Factors that Affect Respiration"
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Respiration is the process in which outside air is taken in via the nasal passages into the lungs and air within the lungs are expelled via the same route. It alternates with each other and is an involuntary mechanism that takes place till we live.

When considering what are the requirements for effective respiration, well functioning brain, a healthy lung, intact covering membranes of the lungs known as the pleura, patent and healthy air passages, muscles of respiration in the chest and neck, the horizontal division between the chest cavity and the abdominal cavity known as the diaphragm, good circulation and a heart function as well as breathable outside air can be named as the most important. Any factor which influences these processes and structures would indirectly affect the respiration and therefore knowing these would help up enormously to prevent a possible breathing difficulty and sometimes a potential disasters.

Let us now see some of these factors, one by one.

Patent air passages:

There are several instances in which the air passages can become obstructed and these can happen through inhaling foreign bodies, water or other aspirates, through inflammatory manifestations in the air passages such as in the case of asthma, occurrence of cancers in relation to respiratory passages as well as due to damages caused by any other mechanisms.

Compliance of the lungs:

Unless the lungs are expanding adequately or else if the lungs are not effective enough to exchange blood and oxygen, there bound to be an inadequacy and therefore respiratory failure. Such events can take place in instances of respiratory muscle paralysis as in the case of barre syndrome, motor neurons disease and some of the congenital diseases affecting the respiratory musculature. Furthermore, a diseased lung would be less compliant and this is amply demonstrated in the rapid and labored breathing seen when a person is suffering from infections of the lungs such as bronchitis, pneumonia…etc. Apart from these, the tissues of the lungs would also loose compliance when chronic diseases influence its tissues and fibrosing alveolitis, tuberculosis of the lungs, emphysema, COPD…etc can all influence the lung function and therefore the respiration to a great extend.


In present world, environment would also play a vital role in the process of respiration and many industrial fumes, smoke, dust, air pollution as well as lack of oxygen would affect a person to a varying degree. Many respiratory illnesses have been reported among individuals whom are living in poor environments of breathable air and the ones who are smoking.

Apart from the above factors, many other conditions and factors would be affecting the respiratory function and therefore need to be considered when investigating for such conditions.

More about this author: Dr Pandula Siribaddana

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