In the case of all three individuals – Tabitha, Anthony, and Jenny – the mechanics of breathing are compromised due to specific conditions affecting their respiratory system.
Tabitha, a two-week-old infant, is diagnosed with infant respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). RDS is a common issue in premature babies whose lungs are not fully developed. The immature lungs of premature infants lack sufficient amounts of surfactant, a substance that reduces surface tension and helps keep the lungs inflated. Without adequate surfactant, the alveoli in Tabitha’s lungs cannot expand and contract properly, making it difficult for her to breathe efficiently. Additionally, the lack of surfactant makes it harder for oxygen to move from the alveoli into the bloodstream, leading to reduced oxygen levels in Tabitha’s body.
Anthony, an eighty-year-old individual, has emphysema. Emphysema is a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) characterized by damage to the alveoli and the small airways in the lungs. The damage to these structures leads to a significant reduction in the capacity of the airways to expel air from the lungs. This condition, known as “air trapping,” prevents fresh air from entering the lungs and exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide with the bloodstream effectively. As a result, Anthony experiences shortness of breath and a feeling of breathlessness due to the inefficient process of ventilation and oxygenation.
Jenny, a fifty-year-old woman, has pulmonary fibrosis. Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes scarred and stiff. The thickening and rigidity of the lung tissue make it more challenging for the lungs to expand and contract adequately during respiration. As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, the reduced lung compliance further impairs the ability to move air in and out effectively. This leads to increased work of breathing and a sensation of breathlessness for Jenny.
In summary, the compromised mechanics of breathing in all these cases can be attributed to specific conditions affecting the respiratory system. In the case of Tabitha, RDS hampers proper lung expansion and oxygenation due to the lack of surfactant. Anthony’s emphysema results in air trapping and inefficient exchange of gases due to damage to the alveoli and small airways. Jenny’s pulmonary fibrosis causes stiff and thick lung tissue, leading to impaired lung compliance and increased work of breathing. These conditions collectively impede the normal functioning of the respiratory system, causing difficulties in breathing for Tabitha, Anthony, and Jenny.