Inhalation disorders - glossary

Allergen
A substance that causes an allergy, for example dust, pollen, flakes of skin from animals, fungal spores

Alveoli
The air sacs in the lung

Antibody
A protein produced by the immune system in response to an allergen

Asthma
A chronic disease of the respiratory system characterised by wheezing, where the airways constrict and become inflamed, often in response to one or more triggers

Asthmagen
An agent that causes asthma

Asphyxiation
Suffocation caused by oxygen not getting to the tissues due to obstruction or damage to the respiratory system

Atopy
A genetic tendency to develop allergic disease, for example dermatitis, rhinitis or asthma. An atopic person is hypersensitive to certain substances in their environment

Bronchi
The two air passages that branch off from the trachea

Bronichial challenge test
A person is exposed to the suspected allergen and their lung function monitored before and after exposure

Bronchioles
The smallest branches of the airways, which branch off from the bronchi and end in the alveoli

Bronchitis
Inflammation of the bronchial tubes

COPD
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Emphysema
A chronic lung disease, which is a form of COPD, involving damage to the alveoli

Fibrosis
A thickening and scarring of the tissues of the lungs

Immunoglobulin E (IgE)
An antibody produced in large amounts to something to which a person is allergic

Inhalation
Breathing in air that may be contaminated with a substance such as a dust, gas, vapour, mist or fume, or a biological agent such as an animal allergen, fungal spores or bacteria

Larynx
The organ that connects the pharynx (throat) and the trachea. Commonly known as the voice box

Lung function test
A measure of how well the lungs are working

Occupational health nursing
Occupational health nursing is a nursing specialism which covers health and well being in the workplace

Occupational medicine
Occupational medicine is defined by the Faculty of Occupational Medicine as the medical specialty which covers the multi-faceted relationship between health and work'

Occupational physician
An occupational physician is a doctor with specialist training and qualifications in occupational medicine. You can get more information from the Faculty of Occupational Medicine

Pharynx
The organ that connects the mouth to both the trachea (windpipe) and the oesophagus. Commonly known as the throat

Pulmonary oedema
An accumulation of fluid in the lungs

Respiratory or chest physician
A medical doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of lung disorders

Respiratory system
The organs and tissues that make up the lungs and airways

Risk phrase
A note assigned to a substance that describes the associated hazards. For example, R42 indicates that the substance may cause sensitisation by inhalation

Sensitisation
Where a person has become sensitive or allergic to a substance

THOR
The Health and Occupation Reporting Network

Trachea
The windpipe

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