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Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Notes - Darasa la Kwanza - AFYA na MAZINGIRA - Sura Zote


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TIE (Tanzania Institute of Education)

Importance of Nose

Your nose is part of your respiratory system. It allows air to enter your body, then filters debris and warms and moistens the air. Your nose gives you a sense of smell and helps shape your appearance. Many common symptoms affect your nose, such as a stuffy nose and nosebleed. Other symptoms may need treatment to keep your nose functioning well.


Air comes into the body through the nose. As it passes over the specialized cells of the olfactory system, the brain recognizes and identifies smells. Hairs in the nose clean the air of foreign particles. As air moves through the nasal passages, it is warmed and humidified before it goes into the lungs.


Here’s a look at what’s in the nose:

When you inhale, air passes through two nostrils. Within, these lead to passageways, separated by cartilage known as the septum, which are further divided up by internal structures called turbinates. Air passes deeper and reaches the nasal cavity, which is located inside your head above the roof of your mouth. It also goes through the sinuses—open spaces in your cheekbones and skull above your eyes.


The lungs are where the complex exchange of oxygen from the air into the blood occurs. First, oxygen-rich air must pass through the nose, which is also your first defense against airborne germs. In fact, it has several functions beyond trapping germs in a sticky fluid called mucus (more on this later), including:


- Trapping tiny particles before they reach the lungs.

- Warming air to body temperature before it gets to your lungs.

- Adding moisture to the air to prevent dry airways.


Sounds fairly simple, doesn’t it? But there’s much more to why these functions are so important. Since they’re closely connected, nose health directly affects lung health, and, in turn, the rest of your body. A stuffy, runny nose can affect your body beyond allergies, a cold, or chest congestion. It truly is the guardian of the lungs, as put by the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Read on to better understand this connection.


Your Nose and Your Health


Turbinates are ridge-like bony structures inside the breathing passages of the nose. Also known as the nasal concha, the long, narrow structures divide the airway into four passages, increasing the surface area through which air can flow. This warms the air as it’s inhaled, heating it to temperatures up to 93°F. The turbinates also maintain a humidity level of 98%, moistening air as it enters the body and helping prevent dehydration as air is exhaled.1


Nose Health and the Impact on Your Lungs

A stuffy nose can lead to mouth breathing, which increases the risk of developing mouth and throat infections and chest congestion. The throat is the direct route to the lungs. Aside from this being the main route for breathing, there is another connection—the nasal-pulmonary reflex.

This reflex is not unlike tapping your knee and having it move involuntarily. The neural mechanism causes the lungs to close up when your nose does; if the nose opens up, the lungs open and gain more capacity. Some athletes open their noses with nasal strips. It’s possible this may not just enhance breathing but also tap into a neurological response mechanism that affects lung function.


Just like the nasal linings, the bronchial tubes that branch into the lungs from the trachea, or windpipe, are lined with cilia. These create wave-like motions that transport mucus up toward the throat, rather than downward as is the case in the nose and nasal cavity. The mucus, along with dust and germs it carries, can then be coughed up or swallowed.


There are various structures comprising the upper airways and the lungs, which are explained in more detail by the American Lung Association.


The nose and lungs are so interconnected it’s important to recognize conditions that can affect the entire body, which can provide incentives to seek nose congestion relief. Here is a look at a few that are directly related to nose health:


On a microscopic level, the nose plays a vital role in health, as it does on a larger scale. The tissues lining the air passages are covered by mucous-producing cells containing cilia, or hair-like structures that trap particles and help move them toward the throat. Dirt particles trapped are either eliminated through sneezing or directed toward the throat. Here, they can be swallowed (along with mucus) and pass to the stomach instead of the lungs, which are far more sensitive to foreign material.


Without the nose, the body wouldn’t be able to taste food nearly as well. What humans call “taste” is actually a mixture of different sensations. One of the sensations is smell. When food is eaten, the nose smells the food and sends information to the mouth in a process called olfactory referral. This is why those with a cold or other nose condition finds that food lacks flavor.

The nose also plays a role in hearing. The nasopharynx is flanked on either side by eustachian tubes. These tubes connect the nasopharynx to the middle ear. The nasopharynx fills the middle ear with air, equalizing air pressure in the ear with the atmosphere around it, which is an important part of hearing properly, according to the American Rhinologic Society.