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ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
The respiratory System, together with the cardiovascular system shares a responsibility for
supplying the body with oxygen and disposing of carbon dioxide. The respiratory system
organs oversee the gas exchanges that occur within the blood and the external
environment. Using blood as the transporting fluid, the cardiovascular system organs
transport respiratory gases between thze lungs and the tissue cells. If either system fails,
body cells begin to die from oxygen starvation and accumulation of carbon dioxide. The
Respiratory System includes the nose, larynx, bronchi, and their smaller branches, and the
lungs, which contain the alveoli and terminal sacs.
Parts of the Respiratory System:
The nose
The nose, whether dug or ski-jump
in shape, is the only externally visible part of
the respiratory system. During breathing, air
enters the nose by passing through the nostrils
or nares. The interior of the nose consists of
nasal cavity, divided by a midline nasal
septum. The olfactory receptors for the sense
of smell are located in the mucosa in the
slitlike superior part of the nasal cavity just
beneath the ethmoid bone. The rest of the
mucosa lining the nasal cavity, called the
respiratory mucosa, rests on a rich network of
thin-walled veins that warms the air as it flows past.
Pharynx
The pharynx is a muscular passage way about 13 cm long that vaguely resembles a
short length of a red garden hose. Commonly called the throat, the pharynx serves as a
common passageway for food and air. It is continuous with the nasal cavity anteriorly via the
posterior nasal aperture.
Larynx
The larynx or voice box routes air and food into the proper channels and plays a role
in speech.
Trachea
Also called as windpipe, is a 10-12 cm tube, in which its walls are reinforced with Cshaped rings of hyaline cartilage. These rings serve a double purpose, the open part of the
rings abut the esophagus and allow it to expand anteriorly when we swallow a large piece of
food. The solid portions support the trachea walls and keep it patent or open in spite of the
pressure changes that occur during breathing.
Lungs

The lungs are paired, elastic, cone-shaped organs which take up most of the space in
our chests, along with the heart, enclose in the thoracic cage, which is an airtight chamber
with distensible walls. Ventilation requires movement of the walls of the thoracic cage and of
its floor, the diaphragm. The effect of these movements is alternately to increase and
decrease the capacity of the chest.

Air enters your lungs through a system of pipes called the bronchi. These pipes start
from the bottom of the trachea as the left and right bronchi and branch many times
throughout the lungs, until they eventually form little thin-walled air sacs or bubbles, known
as the alveoli. The alveoli are where the important work of gas exchange takes place
between the air and your blood. Covering each alveolus is a whole network of little blood
vessel called capillaries, which are very small branches of the pulmonary arteries. It is
important that the air in the alveoli and the blood in the capillaries are very close together,
so that oxygen and carbon dioxide can move (or diffuse) between them. So, when you
breathe in, air comes down the trachea and through the bronchi into the alveoli. This fresh
air has lots of oxygen in it, and some of this oxygen will travel across the walls of the alveoli
into your bloodstream. Travelling in the opposite direction is carbon dioxide, which crosses
from the blood in the capillaries into the air in the alveoli and is then breathed out. In this
way, you bring in to your body the oxygen that you need to live, and get rid of the waste
product carbon dioxide.

The lungs are very vascular organs, meaning they receive a very large blood supply.
This is because the pulmonary arteries, which supply the lungs, come directly from the right
side of your heart. They carry blood which is low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide into
your lungs so that the carbon dioxide can be blown off, and more oxygen can be absorbed
into the bloodstream. The newly oxygen-rich blood then travels back through the paired
pulmonary veins into the left side of your heart. From there, it is pumped all around your
body to supply oxygen to cells and organs.

Other parts of the Lungs:

The Mediastinum is in the middle of the thorax, between the


that contain the two lungs. It extends to the sternum to the
column and contains all the
thoracic tissue outside the lungs.

Each lung is divided into lobes.


left lung consists of an upper and
lower lobe, whereas the right lung
an upper, middle, and lower lobe.
lobe is further subdivided into two to five
segments separated by fissures which are
extensions of the pleura.

pleural sacs
vertebral

The
has
Each

There are about 300 million alveoli in the lungs, which are arranged in clusters of 15- 20.
Alveoli are the tiny sacs at the farthest end of your smallest airways. The exchange of
oxygen and carbon dioxide occurs here.

The bronchi are large air tubes leading from the trachea to the lungs that convey air to
and from the lungs. The bronchi have cartilage as part of their supporting wall structure.
The trachea divides to form the right and left main bronchi which, in turn, divide to form
the lobar, segmental, and finally the subsegmental bronchi.

The bronchioles are tiny tubes in the air conduit system within the lungs that is a
continuation of the bronchi and connects to the alveoli (the air sacs) where oxygen
exchange occurs.

The Pleural Space


The lungs and wall of the thorax are lined with a serous membrane called the
membrane called the pleura. A shiny, thin, transparent membrane called the serous coat, or
pleura, covers each lung. The inner (visceral) layer of the pleura is attached to the lungs and
the outer (parietal) layer is attached to the chest wall. Both layers are covered with
mesothelial cells, which secrete a small amount of fluid (i.e., less than 2 tablespoons) that
provides lubrication between the chest wall and the lung. Both layers are held in place by a
film of pleural fluid, like two glass microscope slides that are wetted and stuck together. The
pleural space is called a potential space because it is virtually nonexistent. The pleural
membranes prevent the lung from making direct contact with the chest wall and the
diaphragm. Cells in the pleural space are primarily mesothelial cells that line the surfaces of
the pleural membranes and some white blood cells. The pleural membranes are
semipermeable. A small amount of fluid continuously seeps out of the blood vessels through
the parietal pleura. The visceral pleura absorbs fluid, which then drains into the lymphatic
system and returns to the blood. Protein in the circulation and balanced pressures keep
excessive amounts of fluid from seeping out of the blood vessels into the pleural space.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Breathing is the process by which oxygen in the air is brought into the lungs and into
close contact with the blood, which absorbs it and carries it to all parts of the body. At the
same time the blood gives up waste matter (carbon dioxide), which is carried out of the
lungs when air is breathe out.
The Pleura are the two membranes, actually one continuous one folded on itself, that
surround each lobe of the lungs and separate the the lungs from the chest wall. It is
lubricated with 5-15 ml of pleural fluid that makes the 2 layers stick and slide smoothly
against eac h other.

There are capillaries that are imbedded in the walls of the alveoli. Blood passes through the
capillaries, brought to them by the pulmonary artery and taken away by the pulmonary vein.
While in the capillaries the blood gives off carbon dioxide through the capillary wall into the
alveoli and takes up oxygen from the air in the alveoli.

The major function of the respiratory system is to supply the body with oxygen and
dispose of carbon dioxide. To do this, at least four distinct events, collectively called
respiration, must occur:
1. Pulmonary ventilation. Air must move into and out of the lungs so that the gases in the air
sacs (alveoli) of the lungs are continuously changed and refreshed. This process of
pulmonary ventilation is commonly called breathing.
2. External respiration. Gas exchange (oxygen loading and carbon dioxide unloading)
between the pulmonary blood and alveoli must take place. Remember that in external
respiration, gas exchanges are being made between the blood and the body exterior.
3.Respiratory gas transport. Oxygen and carbon dioxide must be transported to and from
the lungs and tissue cells of the body via the bloodstream.
4. Internal respiration. At systemic capillaries gas exchanges must be made between the
blood and tissue cells. In internal respiration, gas exchanges are occurring between the
blood and cells inside the body.

Human Respiratory System


The respiratory system consists of all the organs involved in breathing. These include the
nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi and lungs. The respiratory system does two very
important things: it brings oxygen into our bodies, which we need for our cells to live and
function properly; and it helps us get rid of carbon dioxide, which is a waste product of
cellular function. The nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea and bronchi all work like a system of
pipes through which the air is funnelled down into our lungs. There, in very small air sacs
called alveoli, oxygen is brought into the bloodstream and carbon dioxide is pushed from the
blood out into the air. When something goes wrong with part of the respiratory system, such
as an infection like pneumonia, it makes it harder for us to get the oxygen we need and to
get rid of the waste product carbon dioxide. Common respiratory symptoms include
breathlessness, cough, and chest pain.

The Upper Airway and Trachea


When you breathe in, air enters your body through your nose or mouth. From there, it travels
down your throat through the larynx (or voicebox) and into the trachea (or windpipe) before
entering your lungs. All these structures act to funnel fresh air down from the outside world

into your body. The upper airway is important because it must always stay open for you to
be able to breathe. It also helps to moisten and warm the air before it reaches your lungs.
The Lungs
Structure
The lungs are paired, cone-shaped organs which take up most of the space in our chests,
along with the heart. Their role is to take oxygen into the body, which we need for our cells
to live and function properly, and to help us get rid of carbon dioxide, which is a waste
product. We each have two lungs, a left lung and a right lung. These are divided up into
'lobes', or big sections of tissue separated by 'fissures' or dividers. The right lung has three
lobes but the left lung has only two, because the heart takes up some of the space in the left
side of our chest. The lungs can also be divided up into even smaller portions, called
'bronchopulmonary segments'.
These are pyramidal-shaped areas which are also separated from each other by membranes.
There are about 10 of them in each lung. Each segment receives its own blood supply and
air supply.
How they work
Air enters your lungs through a system of pipes called the bronchi. These pipes start from
the bottom of the trachea as the left and right bronchi and branch many times throughout
the lungs, until they eventually form little thin-walled air sacs or bubbles, known as the
alveoli. The alveoli are where the important work of gas exchange takes place between the
air and your blood. Covering each alveolus is a whole network of little blood vessel called
capillaries, which are very small branches of the pulmonary arteries. It is important that the
air in the alveoli and the blood in the capillaries are very close together, so that oxygen and
carbon dioxide can move (or diffuse) between them. So, when you breathe in, air comes
down the trachea and through the bronchi into the alveoli. This fresh air has lots of oxygen
in it, and some of this oxygen will travel across the walls of the alveoli into your
bloodstream. Travelling in the opposite direction is carbon dioxide, which crosses from the
blood in the capillaries into the air in the alveoli and is then breathed out. In this way, you
bring in to your body the oxygen that you need to live, and get rid of the waste product
carbon dioxide.

Blood Supply
The lungs are very vascular organs, meaning they receive a very large blood supply. This is
because the pulmonary arteries, which supply the lungs, come directly from the right side of
your heart. They carry blood which is low in oxygen and high in carbon dioxide into your
lungs so that the carbon dioxide can be blown off, and more oxygen can be absorbed into
the bloodstream. The newly oxygen-rich blood then travels back through the paired
pulmonary veins into the left side of your heart. From there, it is pumped all around your
body to supply oxygen to cells and organs.
The Work of Breathing
The Pleurae
The lungs are covered by smooth membranes that we call pleurae. The pleurae have two
layers, a 'visceral' layer which sticks closely to the outside surface of your lungs, and a
'parietal' layer which lines the inside of your chest wall (ribcage). The pleurae are important
because they help you breathe in and out smoothly, without any friction. They also make
sure that when your ribcage expands on breathing in, your lungs expand as well to fill the
extra space.
The Diaphragm and Intercostal Muscles
When you breathe in (inspiration), your muscles need to work to fill your lungs with air. The
diaphragm, a large, sheet-like muscle which stretches across your chest under the ribcage,
does much of this work. At rest, it is shaped like a dome curving up into your chest. When
you breathe in, the diaphragm contracts and flattens out, expanding the space in your chest
and drawing air into your lungs. Other muscles, including the muscles between your ribs
(the intercostal muscles) also help by moving your ribcage in and out. Breathing out
(expiration) does not normally require your muscles to work. This is because your lungs are
very elastic, and when your muscles relax at the end of inspiration your lungs simply recoil
back into their resting position, pushing the air out as they go.