Respiratory System Disorders

A disorder is defined as a state of irregular functioning of the body. The respiratory system disorders are defined as any disorder in the organisms in top hierarchy,  which affects the organs and tissues that are involved in respiration. Let us have an overview of disorders of the respiratory system.

Respiration could be termed as the process of oxygen intake from the atmosphere and release of carbon dioxide from the tissue cells. It is also called breathing.  Respiration is a type of metabolic process which involves energy production indirectly by the oxidation of complex substances. The respiratory system consists many parts of the upper respiratory tract,  bronchi, trachea, bronchioles, pleura, alveoli, and pleural cavity. This respiratory system might get affected by the following factors:

  1. Smoking.
  2. Bacterial and viral infections.
  3. Pollution.
  4. Dehydration.

Types of respiratory system disorders


Asthma is a chronic disease which affects the bronchi and bronchioles of the lungs. It causes difficulty in breathing, wheezing, and cough.

Causes of asthma

Asthma might happen due to the following factors:

  1. Airborne allergens
  2. Respiratory infections
  3. Physical activity
  4. Cold air
  5. Air pollutants


Emphysema is a type of chronic disease. Emphysema might be defined as the reduction of the respiratory surface due to the damage to the lung alveolar walls. It is caused mainly by cigarette smoking. The main symptoms of emphysema include shortness of breath and cough. Emphysema might lead to loss of elasticity of the lungs.

Causes of emphysema

Emphysema  may be caused by the following risk factors:

  1. Cigarette smoking
  2. Exposure to passive cigarette smoking
  3. Air pollution
  4. Dust
  5. Chemicals

Occupational Respiratory Disorders

Occupational respiratory disorders are defined as any disorder which affects the respiratory system by long- term inhalation of chemicals, proteins, and dust. For instance, Asbestosis that is caused by the inhalation of asbestos dust.

Causes of occupational respiratory disorders

Occupational respiratory disorders might happen due to the inhalation of the following substances:

  1. Dust from cotton, silica, coal, drug powders and pesticides.
  2. Fumes from metals.
  3. Smoke from burning organic materials.
  4. Gases from industries. For instance, Ammonia, chlorine and nitrogen oxides.
  5. Sprays of varnish, paint, acids, and pesticides.

To learn more about Respiratory System and its disorders, visit Byju’s.

Practise This Question

Match the disorders given in column I with their symptoms under column II. Choose the answer which gives the correct combination.

 Column I                                                          Column II

i. Asthma                                                 a. Inflammation of nasal tract
ii. Bronchitis                                             b. Fully blown out alveoli
iii. Rhinitis                                                c. Spasm of bronchial muscles
iv. Emphysema                                        d. Inflammation of bronchi