Thursday, March 16, 2017



The respiratory system's purpose is to bring oxygen into your body. One of the products of cellular respiration is carbon dioxide. Your respiratory system also helps your body to get rid of carbon dioxide.

The respiratory system is made up of:
- Major parts: the airway, the lungs, and the muscles of respiration

The airway includes:
- Nose: The respiratory tract through which air moves is made of cartilage, bone, muscle, and skin that supports and protects the anterior portion of the nasal cavity.
- Nasal Cavity: It warms, moisturizes, and filters the air entering the body before it reached the lungs. Hairs and mucus lining the nasal cavity help trap dust, mold, pollen, and other environmental contaminants before they can reach the inner portions of the body.
- Mouth: The mouth, also known as the oral cavity, can be used to replace the nasal cavity's functions when needed.
- Pharynx: The pharynx, or the throat, extends from the end of the nasal cavity to the end of the esophagus and larynx. The pharynx is divided into 3 regions" the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx. The nasopharynx. The pharynx is used to swallow food, and air passes through the throat.
- Larynx: The larynx connects the laryngopharynx and the trachea, and allows the body to produce speech and singing.
- Trachea: The trachea connects the larynx to the bronchi and allows air to pass through the neck and into the thorax. The main function of the trachea is to provide a clear airway for air to enter and exit the lungs.
- Bronchi/Bronchioles: Bronchi are the main passageway into the lungs. The bronchi become smaller when they get closer to the lung tissue, and are then called bronchioles. These passageways evolve into tiny air sacs called alveoli, which is the site of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.
- Lungs: The lungs' main function is to help oxygen from the air we breathe enter the red blood cells. Red blood cells then carry oxygen around the body to be used in our body's cells. The lungs also help the body get rid of carbon dioxide, or the gas we breathe out.
- Alveoli: The alveoli, found on the branches of the bronchial passages, assist in oxygen exchange through the membranes of the small balloon-like structures.

The muscles of respiration are:
- Diaphragm: The diaphragm is the priary muscle that is used in the process of inhalation. It is a dome-shaped sheet of muscle that is inserted into the lower ribs. Lying at the base of the chest (thorax), it separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity.
- Intercostal Muscles: The external intercostal muscles are responsible for forced and quiet inhalation. They raise the ribs and expand the chest cavity. The inner intercostal muscles are responsible for forced exhalation.

The respiratory system interacts with the circulatory system when the exchange of gases happens in the lungs.
This system also interacts with the digestive system. Your mouth and pharynx are used to swallow and breathe. There is a branching point where the epiglottis directs food to your stomach and air to your lungs. This system even connects with the nervous system in your nose where you smell.

Your respiratory system is similar to a tree. The tree trunk supports and protects the tree just like how the nose protects the anterior portion of the nasal cavity. The tissues of the trunk that contain tubes that carry water and minerals up from the roots to the leaves, and carry sugar down from the leaves to the branches, trunk and roots, are similar to the trachea. The trachea provide a passageway. The bronchi/bronchioles are represented by the branches of the tree. Just like how the bronchi branch off to bronchioles, the trunk extend to the branches of the tree. The lungs are like the leaves. The leaves take in carbon dioxide and "breathe" out oxygen. The lungs breathes in oxygen and takes out carbon dioxide.


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