Respiratory System

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Andrea English

Kaplan University
Instructor: David Armoogam
September 10, 2010

The respiratory system helps with breathing, inhaling and exhaling. The respiratory systems main function is to give oxygen to the body’s cells and get rid of the carbon dioxide the cells produce. Breathing would be impossible without the respiratory system, which includes the nose, throat, voice box, windpipe, and lungs. In this essay I plan on explaining how the respiratory system functions as well as its parts. The exchange of two gases called oxygen and carbon dioxide, this process is called respiration. As humans we need oxygen to survive and generate carbon dioxide. Since too much carbon dioxide is bad for our body we trade the carbon dioxide for air every time we take a breath. When we as humans breathe we are getting oxygen from our environment, without oxygen we would be unable to live. When one breathes in air that air fills the lungs and gets close enough to the blood to make an important trade. The trade I speak of is the blood takes in the oxygen and releases the carbon dioxide back into the environment; this process takes place every time we take a breath. Many people think that respiration is breathing which is not the case at all. Breathing is simply the process of air going in and out of the lungs, which are also referred to as pulmonary ventilation.

People don’t think of how they breathe on a normal basis. Inspiration and expiration is the key whether you know it or not. Inspiration simply moves air into the lungs and expiration moves air out of the lungs. I know it seems simple, I thought so too but it is hardly a simple process. A change in the thoracic cavity is responsible for the change of air pressure in the thoracic cavity and the lungs. The change in air pressure is why the lungs move air in and out. When you breathe air in or inhale which is inspiration you notice your chest gets bigger because it is making room for the oxygen to fill the lungs and they expand. When this happens, the chest cavity increases in size which reduces the pressure allowing air to enter the lungs. During expiration the opposite occurs and the thorax goes back to its relaxed size and shape. This causes the air in the lungs to go back out into the environment. The elastic recoil of the lung tissues also aids in expiration. Forcefully exhaling involves decreasing the size of the thoracic cavity with some help from two muscles. The first is called the internal intercoastals which decreases the size of the thorax from front to back. The second is he abdominal muscles which decreases the size of the thorax from top to bottom. There is no energy involved with expiration. If you were to hold your breath you will notice that your body will force you to exhale and to inhale again. The brain needs oxygen and when deprived of oxygen yes you could die, or should I say you will die. You will no longer be able to control your breathing at that moment and that is how people drown, because they are forced to exhale and inhale again but instead of oxygen filling the lungs water does. And I think we all know the end of that story, which goes to show just how complex our bodies are.

Many gases are in the air as well as in our blood. Oxygen and carbon dioxide being two of the gases in the respiratory system are present in the lungs. Oxygen is constantly being taken from the blood and used for the body cells. Gas moves from areas with high pressure to areas with low pressure. Carbon dioxide goes from the capillaries entering the lung into the alveoli in the lung. Oxygen then moves from the alveoli in the lung to the capillaries that enter the lung. This process is what oxygenates the blood; the oxygenated blood delivers the oxygen through the tissue and takes the carbon dioxide that is made from cellular metabolism and is released back into the environment.

Volumes of air exchanged in breathing can be measured with a special device called...
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