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Glossary of terms.

Aerobic Capacity--Aerobic exercise is any activity that requires additional effort by the heart and lungs to meet increased demand of skeletal muscles for oxygen. Aerobic capacity is a measure of the extent of an individual's to perform aerobic exercise.

Alveolar Duct--The opening through which air passes between the respiratory bronchioles and the alveoli.

Alveoli (singular-alveolus)--The alveolus is a thin walled sac, at the very end of the airway, where gas exchange takes place.

Aspiration/Aspiration Pneumonia--The accidental inhalation of saliva, stomach contents, or foreign bodies into the lungs. Aspiration can result in serious, sometimes fatal pneumonia.

Atelectasis--An abnormal condition marked by collapse of lung tissue. This prevents the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide by the blood.

Atelectatic--A lung or lung segment exhibiting characteristics of Atelectasis Bacteria (singular--bacterium)--One-celled microorganisms, some of which cause infection. The nature, severity and outcome of any infection caused by a bacterium depends on the species of the bacterium.

Bacterial Colonization--Bacteria grow and multiply quickly; in just 24 hours one bacterium can become billions. When bacteria overwhelm a part of the body, this is known as bacterial colonization. Bacterial colonization can result in serious illness.

Bronchi--Large, central airways branching from the trachea.

Bronchial Tree--The configuration of the airways, including the bronchi and the bronchioles. The bronchi branch from the trachea, and the bronchioles branch from the bronchi. All of these airways provide a vast area through which the oxygen can enter the blood, an area that measures nearly 35 times greater than the entire surface area of your skin.

Bronchiectasis--Bronchiectasis is a disorder of the large bronchi characterized by airway dilation; it is caused by recurrent, destructive inflammation or infection of the airways.

Bronchioles--One of approximately six sets of increasingly smaller airways branching from the bronchi.

Bronchoconstriction--Constriction of airways that makes breathing difficult. Bronchoconstriction is especially dangerous in combination with mucus plugging.

Bronchodilation--Widening of the airways, a result of relaxation of the smooth muscle.

Bronchospasm--Sudden constriction of the airways, or bronchoconstriction.

Bulbar Muscles--The term "bulbar" (bulb-shaped) refers to the area of the brain that controls swallowing and the muscles associated with the swallowing function. Damage to, or weakness in this area may result in the unintentional retention and aspiration of oral secretions.

Cilia--Small, hair-like projections on the outer layer of some cells, including many of those in the bronchial epithelium.

Cystic Fibrosis (CF)--A genetic disease characterized by extremely thick bodily secretions in the digestive and pulmonary systems. Sticky, tenacious secretions in the lungs lead to frequent, debilitating infections, subsequent irreversible lung damage, and eventual early death due to respiratory failure. Conscientious bronchial hygiene is essential in the treatment of CF.

Diaphragm--A dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. The diaphragm aids breathing by moving up and down. When breathing in, it moves down, increasing the space in the chest. When breathing out, it relaxes, decreasing the space in the chest.

Dyskinetic--Impaired ability to move. Dyskinetic cilia result in secretion retention, with consequent pulmonary complications.

Dyspnea--Shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing.

Epithelial Cells--Cells arranged in one or more layers that line or cover body surfaces and that secrete essential fluids. Both skin and bronchial airways are covered with such cells.

Esophageal Sphincter--A circular band of muscle fibers that constricts to close the base of the esophagus, thus preventing gastric contents from surging upward.

Fibroblasts--An undifferentiated cell in the connective tissue that can migrate to the site of an injury and undergo alterations necessary to repair certain types of tissues.

Gas Exchange--The process by which oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged between the lungs and the bloodstream.

Glottis--A slit-like opening between the vocal cords. The glottis must be closed off to generate an effective cough.

Histamines--A compound found in all cells that is released during allergic reactions and causes various physiological responses including decreases in blood pressure, increased secretion of mucus, and constriction of the smooth muscles or the bronchi.

Homeostasis--A relative constancy in the intern at environment of the body. In healthy individuals, homeostasis is maintained by adaptive responses that control, for example, temperature, hormone secretion, and rates of cell growth.

Hypersecretion (hypersecretory)--The production of excessive amounts of mucus. Hypersecretion often occurs during infections in an attempt to the rid the body of the microorganisms causing the infection.

Immunological Defenses--The body's defenses against infection.

Intercostal Muscles--The muscles between the ribs. These muscles are important to deep breathing.

Intrapleural Pressure--A measurement of the pressure created in the space between the pleurat tissue linings of the thoracic cavity and the lungs themselves.

Larynx--Part of the airway leading from the pharynx (throat) to the trachea. The larynx, lined with mucus membrane and composed of rings of cartilage, forms the bottom portion of the front wall of the throat. Sometimes called the voice box.

Lung Abscesses--Cavities containing pus and surrounded by inflamed tissue that may form in the lungs as a result of unresolved local infection.

Lung Volumes and Vital Capacities--The total gas-containing capacity of the lungs is measured as a series of lung volumes. At full inspiration, the greatest amount of air that can be held in the lung is known as the total lung capacity. After a complete forced exhalation, the amount of air left in the lungs is called the residual volume. The difference between these two measurements is known as the vital capacity.

Mucociliary Clearance--The process by which the coordinated beating of cilia moves mucus up and out of the airways.

Mucolytic--An agent (usually chemical) with the ability to alter the physical properties of mucus by dissolving or degrading mucus proteins, thus thinning the secretions.

Mucus--The sticky, slippery material released by mucous membranes and glands. In the lungs, mucus serves as a defense mechanism, trapping bacteria and foreign particles so that they can be moved out of the lungs.

Mucus Plugging--The collection of thick mucus in any part of the body, most often in the airways. Pulmonary mucus plugging, especially in combination with inflammation, can effectively obstruct the airway, resulting in impaired gas exchange and atelectasis.

Mucus Shearing--Sudden separation of mucus from the bronchial wall as a result of rapid, forceful outward airflow such as that which occurs during a cough.

Necrotizing Pneumonia--A lung infection characterized by multiple abscesses and permanent destruction of lung tissue.

Oropharyngeal--Related to the mouth and throat

Otitis--Inflammation or infection of the ear.

Pathogens--Any microorganism that causes disease.

Phagocyte/Phagocytosis--The process of ingestion and digestion by phagocytes (special white blood cells) of bacteria, dead tissue, or foreign particles.

Pharynx--The throat, a tube-like structure from the base of the skull to the esophagus.

Phrenic Nerve--The nerve that governs the movement of the diaphragm during breathing.

Physiology--The biological study of the functions, activities, and vital processes performed by a normal living organism. Physiology differs from anatomy in that it emphasizes process over structure.

Pleuropulmonary Infection--An infection located in the lung, pleura, or thoracic cavity, or in related structures.

Pulmonary Functions--Measurements taken to determine lung volumes and lung capacities

Respiratory Failure--The failure to exchange enough oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs.

Scalene Muscles--Muscles that extend from the last five cervical vertebrae to the first and second ribs. Their function is to raise these two ribs.

Status Asthmaticus--An acute, severe and long lasting asthma attack. A lack of oxygen in the blood, blue skin, and unconsciousness may result.

Suctioning--The mechanical removal of respiratory secretions from the trachea.

Thoracic Cavity--The chest area, including part of the abdominal region.

Thorax--The chest area, including part of the abdominal organs.

Tidal Volume--The amount of air inhaled and exhaled during normal breathing.

Trachea--The tube in the neck, extending from the voicebox to the bronchi, that leads air into the lungs; the windpipe.

Tracheostomy--An opening, through the neck and into the trachea, through which a tube is inserted to create an airway.

Ventilation/perfusion mismatch--An imbalance between air and blood at the interface of gas exchange

Viscoelasticity--The tendency of secretions to stick together.

Viscosity (viscous)--Thickness of a fluid, tendency of the fluid to be thick, syrupy and/or sticky.
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Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Article Type:Glossary
Date:May 1, 2001
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