General, Research, Technology

Why does a person need air and how do lungs work?

Breathing is a very important process duringwhich oxygen enters the body and removes carbon dioxide. Without oxygen, a person can last no more than 5-7 minutes, so the lungs - the main respiratory organ - are protected from damage by the chest. It is in the lungs that gas exchange takes place: oxygen from the air enters the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide is released from the blood directly into the lungs. As you know, a person has two lungs, but despite the same functions, they are of different sizes. According to York University, the right lung is shorter because it makes room for the liver, which is located directly beneath it. The left lung is narrower because the heart needs space. And in 2017, scientists discovered that the lungs have additional functions - they participate in the process of hematopoiesis and, possibly, play a major role in it.

Lungs - the main respiratory organ, the health of which must be closely monitored

Air on our planet consists mainly of nitrogen (about 78%) and oxygen (about 20%). Also in the air there is carbon dioxide, argon, neon, krypton, methane, helium, hydrogen, xenon.

How do lungs work?

According to the American Lung Association,an adult typically takes 15 to 20 breaths per minute, which is about 20,000 breaths per day. Infants tend to breathe faster than adults. For example, the normal breathing rate of a newborn is about 40 times per minute, while the average resting breathing rate for adults is 12 to 16 breaths per minute. Each lung has its own pleural sac. That is why when one is damaged, the other can continue its work. The right lung is divided into three different departments, called lobes. In the left lung there are only two lobes, which consist of a spongy tissue surrounded by a pleura membrane. Pleura separates the lungs from the chest wall.

In 2018, Budimir Shobat set a new world record for breath holding underwater. He made up the unimaginable 24 minutes and 11 seconds

When the lungs expand, they draw air intobody, and when compressed, emit carbon dioxide. In this they are helped by the diaphragm and chest, which pump the lungs with air. When a person breathes, air passes down his throat and enters the trachea. The trachea is divided into smaller passages - a bronchial tree, the branches of which grow into each lung. The branches branch into smaller units along the entire length of each side of the lung, and the smallest branches are called bronchioles, each of which is equipped with an air sac - alveoli. According to the Department of Anatomy of the University of Göttingen, there are about 480 million alveoli in the lungs.

The lungs of a person of different sizes, but the functions perform the same

The walls of the alveoli are covered with a large amountcapillary veins. Oxygen passes through the alveoli, capillaries and blood, is transferred to the heart, and then pumped throughout the body to tissues and organs. As oxygen enters the bloodstream, carbon dioxide passes from the blood to the alveoli and is then removed from the body. This process is called gas exchange. When a person breathes shallowly, carbon dioxide accumulates in the body. As scientists have found out, this accumulation causes yawning.

If greatly simplified, then with a sigh, the lungs saturate the blood with oxygen and carry it to the heart and other organs. Carbon dioxide returns blood to the lungs, which we get rid of when we exhale.

What are lung diseases?

The lungs have a special way of protection. These are cilia that cover and clear the airways of dust particles, germs and any other unwanted objects that can get there. However, like other organs of the human body, the lungs are susceptible to a number of unpleasant diseases, many of which are life-threatening. Disease, inheritance, viruses, and poor nutrition can contribute to the development of disease. The most common pulmonary diseases today are asthma, emphysema and cancer, two of which are directly related to smoking.

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Doctors examine lung images of a patient infected with a new coronavirus

As for the most common pulmonaryinfections, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, they are usually caused by viruses, but there are infections by fungal organisms or bacteria, according to Ohio University. The new coronavirus, whose pandemic is raging all over the planet, in severe cases leads to the development of SARS, when the lung membranes are filled with liquid. Because of this, the lungs do not receive enough oxygen and the person dies from suffocation.

What to do for lung health?

One of the best ways to ensure health.lungs - Avoid exposure to tobacco smoke because at least 70 of the 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke damage lung cells. According to the Mayo Clinic, tobacco users have the highest risk of developing lung cancer. Moreover, scientists recently discovered that addiction to cigarettes increases the risk of CoVID-19. The more people smoke, the higher the risk. But there is good news - as Livescience writes, if a person quits smoking, then the lungs can recover from most of the damage.

Rush University Medical Center alsooffers to practice breathing exercises and exercise regularly to keep the lungs healthy. Today, in the midst of the pandemic of the new coronavirus, the best thing you can do for your own health is to quit smoking and follow the recommendations of the World Health Organization. And how not to get infected with CoVID-19, read in our special material.

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