Respiratory System: To breath or not to breath
Breathing is one amazing and natural activities that our respiratory system does unconsciously 24 hours, 7 days a week. We don’t even notice that we’re breathing unless we really just stop and take a moment to notice it. We don’t actually need to think about to inhale or exhale, because it happens naturally thanks to our respiratory system. Breathing is very important to all human beings and even all animals on the planet. At average, we breathe around 15,000-20,000 times during the day. Now that’s pretty amazing huh?
We have our respiratory system to thank for the breathing that goes on every single day of our lives.
For breathing to occur, we have to consider the system that gives us the capability to breath, which is our respiratory system. This system consists of very essential components such as our nose, throat, larynx (commonly known as the voice box), windpipe and our lungs. Let’s have a breakdown of what structures comprises this system.
The beginning of our respiratory system journey is at the very top of our system, the “nostrils”, and “nares.” These are the holes in the middle of your face located at the posterior portion of your nose. Your nares take in air from the environment bringing it inside the nose where the air is humidified to go through the rest of the respiratory system. We have tiny hairs inside our nose which we call “cilia” that act as little filters in our nose to sort out the dirt and dust from entering our respiratory tract. Another passageway for air in this system is through the mouth.
Our “pharynx” carries both food and air into our bodies. Our voice box also called “larynx” is a passage way for air only. If you get a piece of meat stuck there and you can choke and this could be a medical emergency, something to definitely stay away from. This short tube connects your vocal chords which then vibrates to create sound. Your windpipe or “trachea” is located at your neck region and partially in your chest space. This structure in your body fuses off into two air tubes, one on the left and the other on the right called “bronchi”. Our bronchi then connect to our lungs.
Our lungs, which are one of the most vital organs in this system and entire body, extract oxygen from the air we inhaled and expel out carbon dioxide in exhaled air. Without the lungs, it is impossible to breath. The lungs are one of the largest organs in our body also. As for basics, our lungs are located inside our chest, in a protective cage called “rib cage”, which is a very important component of our skeletal system. Our rib cage consists of 12 sets of ribs and is attached to our spine. We have two lungs and aren’t equal in size since most of the structures and/or organs in our bodies aren’t exactly the same, one is always bigger and higher than the other. The lung on our left side is a tiny bit smaller than our right lung. Our heart the major factor why our lung on the left side is smaller because our heart is located on the left side of our body and it needs space to pump rich blood throughout our circulatory system. So the respiratory system is very much connected to our cardiovascular system also.
What does the word “respiration” mean? This is a process in which there is an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide from our body’s cells. It composes these gases that circulate all throughout our body as air we inhale and exhale. One essential gas in this system is oxygen. I’m sure everyone is familiar with how important oxygen is to our bodies. Our cell in the body needs oxygen to acquire energy and grow. Carbon dioxide is a waste gas and is part of the process of creating energy. The structures mentioned above allow air to be taken in our bodies while getting clearing our carbon dioxide when we breathe out or exhale. When we breathe in, a structure called out “diaphragm” moves up and down since this is a main muscle we use for breathing and separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity so it doesn’t all mix together inside us. If you could notice, when you inhale your chest cavity gets wider and much bigger this is because there is air coming into our lungs.
Then when you exhale, our chest cavity decreases. While we inhale, air fills up our alveoli (which consist up of around 600 million) which are another structure that is essential to breath. Our alveoli go through the process called “diffusion” in which the oxygen fills up the alveoli and goes through our blood into tiny blood vessels. Hemoglobin is also a vital component because it picks up the oxygen and this is when oxygen-rich blood goes to our heart and where our heart pumps out to our tissues and other organs that need it. In exhalation, everything happens in reverse. Our diaphragm relaxes and pushes air out of the lungs (carbon dioxide). Since carbon dioxide is a waste gas, we need to remove it from our bodies. That is when we notice that our rib cage decreases in size since it releases this gas.
As we’ve all read, our respiratory system gives us the air we need that is not just important for our cells but also for our tissues and organs. A helpful tip is to take very good care of your this system, every single structure it comprises of, especially your lungs. Without it you won’t be able to talk, laugh, cry and most importantly, breathe. Prevent from damaging your lungs and other structures that is part of the respiratory system, so that means don’t smoke! Smoking damages all the structures of this system and won’t do any good for you especially when you’ve been doing it for years. Cigarette smoking is the number one cause of lung damage. No to smoking! Say it loud and proud! Trust me, you’ll be thankful not doing it. Many diseases can arise from your respiratory system because of certain air pollutants we could possibly inhale. Exercising could do your lungs wonders. The more clean and healthy air that enters your lungs, the more oxygen your cells receive.
Be aware of everything you do to your body especially the systems that are responsible for breathing, circulation and protection, the respiratory system, cardiovascular system and skeletal system. Everything you eat, drink and breathe in.
Prevention is the key to keeping your respiratory system 100% healthy. There are natural remedies you can try out for the betterment of your ailments that are just beginning to show. Remember that natural remedies may work if your symptoms or condition isn’t too severe. If it becomes severe it is recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible. You might not notice the changes while your adolescent years, but it will catch up with you once you start reaching the age of 25 years old and older. Don’t be stuck on a hospital bed saying to yourself, “I wish I could go back to my teenage years and just stop eating junk food that didn’t do me good, drinking alcohol that wasn’t much help and breathing in harmful substances such as nicotine that just made my body deteriorate.” Be smart from the beginning and take care of yourself NOW! You’ll be thanking yourself for doing this.