The word pulmonary is used to describe the lung. Respiratory refers to the breathing system. Pulmonay Function Tests are tests to evaluate lung function. A Respirologist is a physician that specializes in disorders of the lung. Blood gases are a common test to evaluate breathing.

Air first enters the air passage through the mouth or nose. Air continues down the windpipe (called the trachea), branching into one bronchus (singular tense) on the right side and a second bronchus on the left. These two bronchi (pleural tense) become smaller passages called bronchioles. The term bronchiolar refers to the bronchioles. Bronchioles become progressively smaller until they terminate into a cluster of grape like air sacs called alveoli. Small blood vessels called pulmonary capillaries surround the alveoli.

Air must reaches these alveoli before oxygen can enter the bloodstream. Each lung contains many million alveoli. If disease causes large areas of alveoli to collapse or fill with fluid, breathing becomes more difficult. The amount of oxygen entering the blood stream will also decrease. PEEP or CPAP can make breathing easier and correct the low level of oxygen in the blood.

ABOVE: Lungs.

ABOVE: Air Passages.

ABOVE: Normal alveolar-capillary structures.



Last Reviewed: October 23, 2014