Two-week-old Tabitha has infant respiratory distress syndrome. Eighty-year-old Anthony has emphysema, and 50-year-old Jenny has pulmonary fibrosis.
Why are the mechanics of breathing greatly compromised in all of these cases?
Course Name and Number
Diseases of the respiratory system are common globally, with some being specific to a particular age group. Certain factors within a particular age group predispose one to an increased risk of developing specific respiratory conditions. In the case study, the different age groups are affected by other respiratory diseases, which can be attributed to particular compromise in the normal breathing mechanics.
Two-week-old Tabitha suffers from infant respiratory distress syndrome due to inadequate surfactant in the lungs. Surfactants help maintain surface tension, which is critical in keeping the alveoli open to enhance gaseous exchange. Babies born especially before term have reduced surfactants. This, therefore, results in loss of surface tension, resulting in the collapse of the alveoli and increased work of breathing to maintain gaseous exchange, resulting in respiratory distress (Amigoni et al., 2017).
The eighty-year-old Anthony has emphysema, which is an obstructive lung condition. It occurs when the lung loses its elasticity, causing overinflation during inhalation. The overstretching is associated with damage to the alveolar wall, reducing the surface area for gaseous exchange (Pahal et al., 2018). This limits the amount of oxygen reaching the blood and other body organs. There is also reduced alveoli clearance during exhalation, leaving no room for fresh air to occupy the alveoli to participate in gaseous exchange. The condition commonly occurs with bronchitis, making up chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (Pahal et al., 2018). The patient, therefore, experiences difficulty and shortness of breath, which is characteristic of emphysema.
Lastly, the 50-year-old Jenny has pulmonary fibrosis, which is a restrictive lung disease. This is associated with scarring, which could be due to chronic inflammation. The associated scarring increases the stiffness of the lungs, making it difficult for them to work appropriately (Lederer & Martinez, 2018). Therefore, this results in shortness of breath and, in more severe cases, death unless interventions such as lung transplants are made.
Amigoni, A., Pettenazzo, A., Stritoni, V., & Circelli, M. (2017). Surfactants in acute respiratory distress syndrome in infants and children: past, present, and future. Clinical drug investigation, 37(8), 729-736. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40261-017-0532-1
Lederer, D. J., & Martinez, F. J. (2018). Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. New England Journal of Medicine, 378(19), 1811-1823. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1705751
Pahal, P., Avula, A., & Sharma, S. (2018). Emphysema. https://europepmc.org/books/nbk482217