Trachea is a flexible pipe that runs in the frontal neck that takes the air we breathe into the lung cavities. Trachea is located in the centre of the front neck; it extends from the end of voice box (larynx) and continues up to the lung cavities behind the breastbone. A well-developed Trachea has a length of nearly 10 cms with a diameter quite lesser than a mere 3 cms. Before it enters both the lung cavities, it is divided into two branches.
Trachea is made up of fibrous and elastic tissues and smooth muscles. It, thus has nearly twenty rings of cartilages, which are flexible connective tissues, making Trachea flexible and open with any movement of the neck. The inside of the Trachea is lined with a mucosa-membrane that has sticky-mucus-secreting cells bearing hair-like structures known as cilia on it.
The main function of Trachea is to let the air we breathe in through nose and mouth flow into the lungs. It acts as a canal and thus it is even known as windpipe. In addition to this, the mucus that the cells on its wall secrete moistens the air and helps in trapping the foreign particles like dust or bacteria which escape the nasal cavity. With the help of cilia, the collected particles are moved upwards and discarded as phlegm or it is passed through to the stomach where the acids destroy it.
The major Tracheal disorders are:
Tracheal stenosis: It is the condition of the Trachea when its inner walls swell and is narrowed down the windpipe.
Tracheoesophageal fistula: Here, there takes place an abnormal connection between the oesophagus and the Trachea through a channel of swallowed food from oesophagus to enter the
Trachea. Tracheomalacia: This disorder is a condition in which the Trachea is softer than usual either because of birth defect or due to excessive smoking.
Tracheal obstruction: In this Tracheal disorder, the inner space is narrowed down due to the growth of tumour on the inner walls.