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Pneumonia: Mini-Glossary

Aspiration

The swallowing of foreign matter into the lungs.

Alveolar macrophages

The special cells in the lungs that attack bacteria and other germs.

Alveoli

Small air sacs in the lungs that exchange incoming oxygen with outgoing carbon dioxide.

Biopsy

Procedure in which a sample of lung tissue is taken if you have a severe case of pneumonia.

Bronchi

The two large tubes that connect the trachea to the lungs.

Bronchial pneumonia

Type of pneumonia that spreads from the bronchi to several patches in one or both lungs.

Bronchioles

The smaller tubes of the airways that lead from the bronchi to the alveoli. Each lung has hundreds of bronchioles.

Bronchoconstriction

The narrowing of the bronchioles.

Bronchodilator

Medication that opens up the bronchial tubes, helping to diminish shortness of breath.

Cilia

Tiny hairs on the cells that line the airways. They sweep away mucus that has trapped foreign particles and help the body remove irritants.

Expiration

The process of releasing air from the lungs through the nose or mouth.

Inspiration

The process of breathing air into the lungs.

Irritant

Substance that may provoke a bad reaction in the airways.

Lobar Pneumonia

Pneumonia that affects only one lobe, or section, of the lung.

Lobe

The well-defined portion of the lungs.

Mucus

Sticky airway secretion that prevents lung damage by trapping foreign particles. When infection makes your lungs produce too much mucus, it clogs the airways.

Pulmonary Function Test

A test used to measure how well the lungs work.

Respiration

The gas exchange from air to the blood, and from the blood to the body cells.

Streptococcus pneumoniae

The technical name for pneumococcus — the strain of bacteria that is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia.

Trachea

The windpipe where the air we breathe is adjusted to body temperature, filtered and moistened.

Ventilation

The amount of air that moves in and out of the lungs.

Viral Pneumonia

An infection of the lungs caused by one of several viruses.

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