Just like the engines have turbines which allow for the movement of air, water, gas and steam so are its function almost similar to the turbinates also called the nasal conchae in the respiratory system of a human being. The nasal conchae are principally responsible for regulating the flow of air by warming, humidifying and filtering air, during the inhalation process. To have a better understanding of its role, we will highlight all its features; this is; its structure, functions, dysfunction and how to correct the illness.
Structure of the Nasal Conchae
The nasal turbinates have three sections the upper part, middle and the lower conchae.
Lower Conchae/Inferior Meatus
It is the largest airspace that is between the floor of the nasal cavity and that of the inferior turbinate. It aids in directing the airflow, humidifying, heating and filtration of the air that gets to the nose.
It is smaller compared to the inferior turbinates; it serves to protect the nasal sinuses from the direct pressure of air; from its position, it is on the upper part of the inferior meatus where the process of air inhalation occurs and travels through it.
Superior/ Upper Meatus
It is smaller than the middle turbinates and has a lining of mucous membrane lined with nerve ending which is responsible for the interpretation of the smell; this is the reason why a disorder in the turbinate may lead to the dysfunction of the olfactory bulb.
The function of the nasal turbinates
The nasal turbinates have a significant contribution to the respiratory process; the different type plays different roles despite the specific duties they all enhance the respiration, olfaction and immunological defense.
Generally, they all have cilia covering them; this helps to protect the body from most of the irritants and contagions that may be present in the flowing air. Also, they are responsible for providing the white blood cells and the enzymes an environment where they can lay an attack on the bacteria and thus protect the body from infection.
Superior conchae serve to give a complete cover of protection to the nerve axons that goes to the nose through the cribriform plate. The nerves are responsible for the interpretation of the olfaction process, temperature and pain receipting.
All the turbinates are responsible for the increase of the surface area of the nose. By directing and deflecting the air, they can push air through the inner mucosal surface of the nose.
They also play a significant role in providing and enhancing the immune defense system; the nasal turbinate’s erectile tissue has a covering of the respiratory epithelium which is responsible for the production of mucus. It is the mucus that traps dust in the inhaled air thus it takes the role of filtration. Additionally, the epithelium enables for the access of the lymphatic system which protects from viral or bacterial infection.
They cause the alertness and health of the olfactory receptors. It can cause these effects of the provision of the humidity needed to preserve the epithelium. If they are not protected their functioning gets impaired because they become dry, which will cause anosmia.
The nasal turbinates play a significant role in the sleeping mechanisms. Depending on the side that you slept the turbinates of that side will get filled with fluid which will lead to expansion thus necessitating you to turn. It explains the reasons why if you do not turn at night you wake up having bed sores and achy muscles.
Congestion of the nose characterizes it; the cause of its dysfunction includes; common cold, allergy, sleep apnea, concha bullosa, choanal Atresia, Nasal valve collapse and auditory tube dysfunction.
Correcting the disorder
Most of these disorders heal on their own; however, treatment is also required to rectify the problem.
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