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Facts About the Respiratory System

Posted by Joanna Culley on

Systems are what holds our bodies together and allow them to work efficiently, prevent diseases, have endurance and longevity, and overall be the magnificent machines they are. Among these primordial systems, that even form inside us before we are born, we have the respiratory system; a complex structure made up of several and very unique organs that make breathing and respiration possible. 

Respiration is a larger process involving much of the respiratory system, and breathing is a part of it, by inhaling oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. At the same time, the body coordinates the external respiration, where gas exchange between the lungs and the bloodstream occurs. 

The respiratory system can be separated into three major parts, according to their location and functions; these are the airways, the lungs and the muscles of respiration. The first part comprises organs located at the upper side of our bodies, including the nose, larynx, pharynx, mouth, trachea, bronchi and bronchioles. Lungs receive the oxygen from the outside, and expel carbon dioxide, after several steps in the respiration process. The last part of this system includes the muscles of respiration, diaphragm and intercostal muscles, which pump the air in and out of the body through breathing.   

Inhaled air doesn’t “open” your lungs

It is actually the intercostal muscles and diaphragm that perform this action. When we inhale the oxygen, these muscles contract and make the chest cavity increase in volume, which in fact pulls the lungs open. Residual air then spreads out, reducing the air pressure inside the body.

How do you maintain your eupnea?

Eupnea refers to the quiet or “calm” breathing rate and depth our body keeps while under regular resting conditions. If we are making great bodily efforts due to exertion, our body’s demand for oxygen and production of carbon dioxide begins to rise. Very soon, our autonomic chemoreceptors monitor and send signals to our brain, making it adjusting our rate breathing levels and gas partial pressure back to normal.

How necessary mucus really is?

Far more necessary than we would like to admit, in fact. This essential substance is made by the air passages, and it is responsible for catching unwanted dirt and impurities in the oxygen we breathe. It also moistens the airways. However, mucus could also cause problems, like build-up and clogging of the airways, especially if you’re a smoker. 

About mouth-breathing

Even though the regular respiratory place in the body is the nose, the oral cavity can substitute the functions of the nasal cavity if needed; usually when the airways are clogged or can’t properly perform. A perk of mouth-breathing is that the air enters the body significantly faster than through the nose. However, the mouth doesn’t moisturize or warm this oxygen, nor filters the air, because it lacks cilia and mucus.

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