Respiratory medicine is the branch of medicine that treats people with diseases affecting the lungs and breathing.
The role of our lungs is to deliver oxygen into our bloodstream and remove carbon dioxide. When you breathe in, air passes through the throat into the windpipe (trachea). The base of the windpipe divides into the right and left tubes (bronchi) which divide again and again each time getting smaller and smaller until the smallest airways called the alveoli are reached. The alveoli act like balloons i.e. when you breathe in they inflate and when you breathe out they relax.
Oxygen moves across the walls of the alveoli and enters the bloodstream and is carried to the rest of the body after passing through the heart. Carbon dioxide is passed from the blood into the alveoli and is breathed out of the lungs.
Common symptoms or signs of lung disease include: shortness of breath, wheezing, long-term cough, coughing up blood, and having chest pains.
Respiratory services provided by the department consist of outpatient clinics, a day stay unit and inpatient (ward) care.
The department is staffed by respiratory physicians (doctors who specialise in treating conditions of the lungs), specially trained nurses, technicians, physiotherapists, and registrars (doctors training to be specialists).