||A nose is a nose is a nose.
Smelling, tasting and breathing all start here. The size, location,
lining and tiny hairs (cilia) inside help prevent foreign objects to
and to trap large air impurities before being drawn further into the
system. Achooo! Out with the bad... bugs and carbon dioxide.
||Mouth breathing can also
be remembered as 'the big gulp', or 'plan 'B'' for air entry. Like the
nose, it has many functions. It is the starting point of the digestive
system as well as a secondary inhaler and exhaler.
||The larynx has three main
functions: 1) a passageway for air, 2) a valve to close off the air
from the digestive one (the epiglottis) like a hinged trap door, and 3)
as a voice box.
||The lungs are the essential
organs of respiration. The main function of the lungs is to exchange
dioxide for oxygen and vice versa. Each lung is enclosed separately
two membranes, like a balloon inside a bag inside a bag.
||There are 2 main bronchi
(Latin plural of bronchus): the right and left, each leading to a lung.
If you accidentally breathe, or aspirate, a very small piece of food
gets past the trachea, it is most likely to fall and be pulled into the
right main bronchus. If a peanut gets this far, what do you think could
||This muscular structure
acts as a floor to the chest (thoracic) cavity as well as a roof to the
abdomen. It helps to expand and contract the lungs, forcing air into
out of them.
||The pharynx is shared with
the digestive system from the tongue down to the epiglottis. Food goes
on down the esophagus and air passes on through the trachea - but never
both at the same time!
||This armored tube allows
air to pass beyond the larynx to where it divides into the left and
bronchi. The protective 'c's of cartilage also provide protection to
digestive system's esophagus right behind it.
||The left one has a sharper
bend due to the presence of the heart and major blood vessels directly
||Each bronchus divides and
subdivides into smaller and smaller branches, the bronchioles, just
tree branches that get smaller as they grow up and out. By the time the
air has reached here from outside, it has been warmed up to body
filtered and moisturized.
||These tiny air cells, or
sacs, are the 'leaves' of our respiratory tree. They resemble bunches
grapes and are the link between the respiratory and circulatory
Gas exchange happens here - I'll trade you fresh oxygen (O2)
for your used carbon dioxide (CO2).
Now trace the route of the old air back out to the nose.
||The throat includes all
the structures lying in front of the spinal column including the mouth,
tongue, pharynx, tonsils, larynx and trachea.
bronchi and bronchioles
three portions of our airways also have rings of
muscle along their length as well as glands lining them. These glands
mucous that traps particles of dirt. Eventually, this sticky stuff and
its trapped dirt are coughed up and cleared out. With asthma, these
muscles tighten, making all the airways smaller and more difficult to
through, and excessive mucus is produced, sometimes flooding the