Introduction to Respiratory Changes (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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    00:01 Hello, welcome to our series on Geriatric Nursing.

    00:05 We're looking at age-related changes in health.

    00:07 And in this part, we're looking specifically at the respiratory system.

    00:11 Now if this is your first video series with us, we use Jose and Enrique.

    00:17 They've been lifelong friends.

    00:18 But they've had two very different health journeys.

    00:21 Jose has stayed active, made healthy lifestyle choices, and he hasn't had any major health events.

    00:28 Poor Enrique, on the other hand, had a heart attack at age 52.

    00:33 He's developed into congestive heart failure.

    00:35 So he's had a much different course.

    00:37 That's the whole point of this video series is for you to recognize the difference between normal age related changes, and those that are associated with chronic illness.

    00:47 So I want to start with a story.

    00:49 So picture Enrique, he's out for a walk one day.

    00:53 He's at the park, he's talking with a friend.

    00:56 Now both of them are complaining about how difficult it's become for them to walk without getting tired.

    01:01 And then they see these people jogging around the course.

    01:05 The next thing Enrique knows, someone whips by them fast as a bullet.

    01:12 Then he realizes who it was.

    01:14 It's Jose.

    01:16 Enrique's old friend.

    01:18 Now they're about the same age.

    01:20 And Jose can jog, even run up some of the stairs.

    01:24 What's the difference between Jose and Enrique? Why is that? I mean, is like Jose some kind of superhero? No, not really but let's take a look at what the normal signs of aging are in the respiratory system.

    01:40 So we're going to use Jose is our model.

    01:43 Remember, he's the guy jogging at the park.

    01:46 Know that normally, if Jose is at rest, or just has minimal exertion, you're not going to see a big change in his respiratory function because his lungs can provide adequate oxygen.

    01:56 So if he's not being pushed, he's not pushing his heart rate, he's not stressing himself, you're not going to see a big difference.

    02:04 However, when he does push himself, when he does exercise, we'll call that greater than normal exertion, the respiratory reserve is lower than when he was younger.

    02:15 Okay, so that's when Jose will become dyspneic or feel short of breath.

    02:20 If you've looked at our cardiac series, we talked about how as we age, there's less cardiac reserve.

    02:26 And at rest, there's not as big a change that is noticeable.

    02:29 Same thing with the lungs, there's less respiratory reserve.

    02:34 So it's going to be harder for him to catch his breath than when he was 20.

    02:39 No I know, you realize that geriatric patients become more short of breath than when they were younger.

    02:45 But I want you to be clear on why that is.

    02:48 So if Jose were to start jogging or running faster and faster, he's going to become more short of breath and he would have when he was younger.

    02:58 The real purpose is why is that? Because he has less respiratory reserve.

    03:04 Okay, that's the main takeaway from that, that I want you to know from our story of Enrique walking in complaining in the park, and Jose zipping right by him.

    03:17 So let's take a look at the normal aging of the respiratory system.

    03:20 You notice we have Jose as a little guy, Jose as a middle adult, and Jose as a geriatric client.

    03:28 Now there's lots of age dependent anatomical and physiological changes that impact your functional reserve of your lungs.

    03:36 So first, respiratory function deteriorate slowly and progressively.

    03:41 So I start as a little guy, as he goes into an adult, you'll start to see a decline as he begins to age into the geriatric stage.

    03:50 So the respiratory function is slow and progressive.

    03:54 Unless there's some type of major event, it's not going to be noticeable from day to day.

    04:00 Now your maximum breathing capacity also declines.

    04:03 Now, we're going to use a lot of terms in this video series that use for measurement of lung function.

    04:10 So I'm going to slow down a little bit and break that down for you.

    04:13 The maximum breathing capacity is the minute volume or the ventilation that the client can maintain for 12 to 15 seconds.

    04:22 So maximum breathing capacity is what the minute volume of the ventilations that you can maintain for 12 to 15 seconds.

    04:31 And this is something that we can measure in a clinical setting.

    04:34 This will decline over a period of time progressively as the patient ages.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Introduction to Respiratory Changes (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN is from the course Assessment of the Geriatric Patient: Respiratory System (Nursing).

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Respiratory reserve decreases.
    2. Respiratory function deteriorates quickly.
    3. Maximum breathing capacity increases.
    4. Dyspnea at rest is considered normal and expected.
    1. The minute volume that the client can maintain for 12-15 seconds
    2. The amount of air moving in and out of the lungs in five seconds
    3. The volume of air exhaled with each breath
    4. The amount of air remaining in the lungs after exhalation

    Author of lecture Introduction to Respiratory Changes (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

    Rhonda Lawes, PhD, RN

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