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Glossary: Bronchitis

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 17:02

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here are definitions of medical terms related to bronchitis.

Alveoli: Tiny sac-like airspaces in the lungs where carbon dioxide from the body is exchanged for oxygen from outside the body.

Bronchial tubes, bronchi: Larger air passages in the lung, usually closer to the throat

Bronchioles: Smaller air passages in the lung

Bronchoconstriction: Tightening of the muscles of the surrounding the bronchi which causes the air passageways to get smaller

Bronchodilator: A medication or other substance that causes the muscles to loosen or dilate

Cilia: Tiny hairs in the nose, bronchi and lungs that filter air and trap particles such as dust for removal.

Cyanosis: The bluish color of the skin associated with too little oxygen in the body

Dyspnea: Shortness of breath or hard, labored breathing

Macrophages: Defensive cells in the body that are capable of consuming foreign objects

Phlegm: Abnormal amounts of mucus; phlegm coughed up through the mouth is called sputum

Vaccination: Giving a killed or weakened virus or bacteria in order to stimulate the immune system to protect the person from that organism at next exposure.

Ventilation: The process of exchanging air between the lungs and the atmosphere leading to an exchange of gases in the blood.

Spirometry : A test performed by breathing into an instrument called a spirometer that records the amount of air and the rate of air that is breathed in over a specified time.

Some of the test measurements are obtained by normal breathing, and other tests require forced inhalation and/or exhalation.

Sputum: Phlegm that is coughed up from the lungs

Wheezing: Whistling sound heard when someone breaths out or in due to secretions in the larger airways or airways narrowed by mucus, bronchospasm or tumor.