The lungs have several different functions that are vital to supporting your immunity. The lining of the lungs has cells that secrete mucus, keep the airways moist, and trap unwanted particles inhaled. The lungs also have tiny hairlike structures called cilia that push debris out of your lungs. The linings of the lungs also have specialized white blood cells called macrophages, which can trap and get rid of "invaders" like debris and bacteria in the lungs. Each of these actions is an essential part of the immune system protecting the respiratory system from infection (Iwasaki et al, 2017).
Respiratory diseases can increase the risk of respiratory infections because persistent inflammation can jeopardize the lining of the lung. (Brusselle et al, 2011).
This impairment of such a vital part of the lungs' built-in immune system can supply infectious invaders, like pathogens and bacteria, more accessible access into tissues of the lungs, leading to lower respiratory infections. (Juhn et al, 2014).
When you are dealing with chronic respiratory disease, the key to the consistent use of your prescribed medication, finding and avoiding triggers, and adopting a healthy lifestyle.
- Iwasaki A, Foxman EF, Molony RD. Early local immune defences in the respiratory tract. Nat Rev Immunol. 2017;17(1):7-20. doi:10.1038/nri.2016.117
- Brusselle GG, Joos GF, Bracke KR. New insights into the immunology of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Lancet. 2011;378(9795):1015-1026. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60988-4
- Juhn YJ. Risks for infection in patients with asthma (or other atopic conditions): Is asthma more than a chronic airway disease? Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2014;134(2):247-257.e3. doi:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.04.024