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Facts About the Human Lungs

Posted by Joanna Culley on

Taking a big, deep, relaxing breath during a stressful day can be as pleasurable as it is normal, but do we really stop to think about the organs that allow us to perform this? Very often, people think of lungs as these small pouches inside our chest, but besides allowing us to inhale and exhale, there is a whole lot more to them. Let’s explore a little bit more into them.

According to WebMD, the lungs can be described as “a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest (thorax). The trachea (windpipe) conducts inhaled air into the lungs through its tubular branches, called bronchi. The bronchi then divide into smaller and smaller branches (bronchioles), finally becoming microscopic”. In other words, the lungs are the organs that fill up with the necessary oxygen, that we breathe through our noses, so we can properly do our daily activities. The lungs are also responsible of turning the oxygen into carbon dioxide, which can be very toxic if held inside our bodies. According to Wendi Howland for the Mental Floss website: “Your body operates optimally at a fairly narrow pH range, and when you generate extra CO2 by, say, running up the stairs, you bring your pH into the normal range almost immediately by excreting CO2 by breathing deeply.”

How much do you really breathe?

Breathing is an automatic bodily function and the normal breathing rate for an adult is of 12 to 20 breaths per minute. However, children and women have a tendency to breathe faster.

Do we just exhale carbon dioxide?

Your body loses water when it breathes, not just carbon dioxide. In fact, a person exhales about 17.5 millimeters of water every hour, and this rate becomes higher when we exercise. Four times higher, to be precise.

Lungs aren’t twins

Lungs differ in size, and the the left one is often smaller than the other to make enough room for the heart. And talking about size, if cut open and laid on the ground, a person’s lungs would be as big as an entire tennis court.

They can also float

If we are inside a pool or in the ocean, and we fill up our lungs with oxygen, these can float! They are the only human organs that can float at all.

Breathing occurs faster than what you think

The amount of time that oxygen takes to go from your lungs to your brain is under seven seconds. In fact, whatever substance you inhale goes to your brain faster than what you realize.

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