For my STEAM project, I have decided on focusing on the respiratory system and the anatomical function of the muscle and tissue, and the effects pneumonia has on the lungs. I illustrated this by creating a kids book to be able to explain the functions of the respiratory to children that are willing to learn.

Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs either one lung or both lungs are effected. This happens through either fungi, bacteria, or viruses. This infection causes inflammation in the air sacs of the lungs and results in pain and buildup of fluid making it hard for a person to breathe. Pneumonia affects the lungs but it can lead to other health problems in the body as well. The people that are most at risk are both infants, adults 65 years or older, and people with existing health problems.

Since pneumonia is inside the lungs we will look at the respiratory system. The muscles of the respiration are called ‘breathing pump muscles’, this is formed around the bottom area around the lungs. The muscles that help expand the lungs are in the thoracic cavity and they are called inspiratory muscles. These muscles are about the same as the skeletal muscles they expand and clear out oxygen in the thoracic cavity. The muscles in the respiratory is called diaphragm, ribcage muscle, external intercostal, and the abdominal muscles. There is many more muscles but let’s keep this short and sweet.

The mechanism of breathing is gases travel from high pressure to low pressure. The respiratory tract is the nose, throat, larynx, bronchi, trachea, and lungs. Surrounding the lungs is the visceral pleura. The lungs are covered by a thin tissue called pleura, this same thin tissue lines the inside of the chest cavity.  The pleural cavity, muscles in between the ribs are called intercostal muscles and the diaphragm are used in respiration they are the most important muscles. Pneumonia can cause fluid to build up in the thin spaces between layers of tissue that line the lungs and pleura (chest cavity). The fluid that’s in there if it becomes infected you may need to have it drained this is called pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is damaged lung tissue, if left untreated you may develop or get a collapsed lung, there is also multiloculated effusion and that is difficult to drain this is usually from the presence of pus in the pleural space, you’ll see this on a gram stain test to define it or on a CT scan of the chest.

Treatment for pneumonia can be different depending on the person that is infected. Some people require admission to a hospital, antibiotics, medications, hydration, and lots of rest.

During inspiration the lungs fill with oxygen and during that the diaphragm descends and the intercostal muscles will contract, then it will make the rib cage expand or rise. During expiration the diaphragm will rise and intercostal muscles will relax and thoracic cavity will decrease or shrink, causing the gas to flow out of the lungs.

.Welch, Joseph. Kipp, Shaylaya. Sheel, Andrew. (August 2019) “Respiratory muscles during exercise: mechanics, energetics, and fatigue”, science direct.

American Lung Association (2016) “Learn About Pneumonia”

Pneumonia: An infection in the lungs. (2017).