The respiratory tract is the term used to refer to the connections that lead air from outside to the alveoli. They are divided into the upper and lower respiratory tract, with the upper respiratory tract being formed from the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasal mucosa, nasal hair, cilia and pharynx. The lower airways include the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, bronchioles, end bronchioles, bronchioli respiratorii and the alveolar ducts. In addition to the airways and air-conducting structures, the respiratory tract also includes the areas of the lungs required for gas exchange - in particular the alveoli.
Diseases of the respiratory tract or respiratory tract are generally relatively widespread, whereby in addition to infectious diseases with subsequent pneumonia or bronchitis, damage caused by long-term tobacco use and bronchial asthma in particular occurs more frequently. However, numerous other diseases can also affect the respiratory tract. Typical symptoms of respiratory problems are runny nose, cough and shortness of breath. If the complaint is based on a bacterial or viral infection, there are often accompanying symptoms such as throat pain, hoarseness, fever or headache and body aches. Bronchitis and pneumonia are also often associated with chest pain and, in severe cases, with coughing up blood. Although respiratory complaints are mostly due to a rather harmless flu infection or a cold, they should not be taken lightly. A cough that persists over a long period of time urgently requires medical examination, as serious illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; smoking cough) or even lung cancer can trigger the respiratory complaints. (fp)