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Quiet Breathing and Asthma Essay

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Normal inspiration and expiration, also known as quiet breathing, is the type of breathing that occurs when a person is in a state of rest (McKinley, 2013). Pressure variations between the atmosphere and the thoracic cavity are produced by changes in lung volume (McKinley, 2013). Boyle’s law describes the inverse relationship between the pressure of a gas and the volume of a container (McKinley, 2013). Asthma is one of many conditions that can affect the pressure gradient in the lungs and cause problems with breathing.

During quiet breathing the body is at rest (McKinley, 2013). Quiet inspiration brings air into the lungs using the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles (McKinley, 2013). Quiet expiration passively moves air out of the lungs; the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles are relaxed (McKinley, 2013). Air flows in and out of the lungs in accordance with Boyle’s law (McKinley, 2013). As the volume of the thoracic cavity changes during quiet breathing, gas flows into or out of the lungs depending on the pressure gradient (McKinley, 2013). A pressure gradient occurs between interconnected areas when the pressure in one area is higher or lower than the pressure in the other area (McKinley, 2013). There are several different types of pressure that affect the thoracic cavity. Intrapulmonary pressure is the pressure inside of the lungs, while intrapleural pressure is the pressure inside of the serous cavity that surrounds the lungs(McKinley, 2013). Atmospheric pressure is the pressure that gases in the air place on the environment (McKinley, 2013). Atmospheric pressure varies at different altitudes, but the standard value is associated with the altitude at sea level (McKinley, 2013).

At sea level, a...


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...inspiration and expiration is interrupted (Horwitz & Busse, 1995). Asthma can be treated with medications such as inhaled steroids to stop the immune response and bronchodilators to increase lumen size of the airways (McKinley, 2013).



Horwitz, R. J., & Busse, W. W. (1995). Inflammation and asthma. Clinics in Chest Medicine, 16(4): 583-602.

McKinley, M. P. (2013).  Anatomy and physiology: An integrative approach.  McGraw-Hill.

Morris, M. J. (2013). Asthma. Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/296301-overview#aw2aab6b2b1aa


Works Cited

Horwitz, R. J., & Busse, W. W. (1995). Inflammation and asthma. Clinics in Chest Medicine, 16(4): 583-602.

McKinley, M. P. (2013).  Anatomy and physiology: An integrative approach.  McGraw-Hill.

Morris, M. J. (2013). Asthma. Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/296301-overview#aw2aab6b2b1aa


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