Don’t Hold Your Breath

Take a beautiful spring day, sun is shining, birds are chirping, flowers are starting to bloom, the air is crisp; yet you are struggling to breath with an oxygen tank. This feeling of not being able to catch your breath is due to a diagnosis of COPD.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease know more commonly as COPD is an encompassing term used for a multitude of respiratory diseases covering chronic bronchitis, asthma and emphysema. In our current unit in class the topic is cellular respiration and to tie in a medical component to the unit, COPD exemplifies how ho cellular respiration can be effect by systematic abnormalities in the body.

A patient suffering from COPD experiences a combination of symptoms that can be broken down into the specific disease symptoms or can be a combination of all symptoms. Symptoms include persistent cough, recurrent pulmonary infections and pulmonary infections. You may be wondering to yourself how does this relate to cellular respiration? Well it’s actually very important, you may not know this but your body needs oxygen in order to survive; truthfully you need more than just oxygen but it is still very important.

The most common symptom in COPD is the feeling of not being able to “catch your breath” in more complex terms mean your body cannot sufficiently transfer oxygen from the alveoli in the lungs to the cells in the body for cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is a complex system that breaks down organic compounds to form Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to provide energy for cells to do work. When the lungs are not functioning optimally, they are not transferring enough oxygen to the cells causing the cells to be deprived of vital organic material for cellular respiration. Without all the organic compounds necessary for cellular respiration cells will begin to die after only a few minutes causing systematic organ failure.

Cellular respiration and COPD go hand in hand, or in this case lung and cell. In order for cellular respiration to occur electrons are transferred from glucose to coenzymes then to oxygen to make ATP. Three million new case are diagnosed in the United States each year, with the typical diagnosis age being 40-60 years of age and increasing for that age. This disease has no cure, but can be treated after seeing a specialist in Respiratory and Pulmonary diseases.


About Mr. Mohn

Biology Teacher

This entry was written by Caitlin C. and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *