The Breathing System


Breathing is something that comes by nature. You can control your breathing, but you don´t necessarily have to. When your watching a movie, or doing some work, you almost never think about breathing. This is why you are able to breathe unconsciously without a problem.

Breathing is the process of passing air into and out of our lungs to supply the body with oxygen. It is also part of the respiratory system. However, repiration is a little bit different. According to the dictionary, it is the process by which organisms exchange gases, especially oxygen and carbon dioxide with the environment, (inhale and exhale). In air-breathing vertebrates, respiration takes place in the lungs, while in fish and many invertebrates it takes place through the gills, and plants also respire using photosynthesis. Respiration and breathing are both co-dependent.

Have you ever asked yourself why we breathe? Your first thought was probably, “so I won´t die”. Yet, is there something deeper than that? Indeed, breathing brings oxygen to your blood, which then is circulated throughout your body making all your organs, muscles, etc., to function in the way they should. In other words, without oxygen you´re body woudn´t be able to move at all.

So, how does breathing work? The diaphragm has a primarily job on breathing. It is a large dome-shaped muscle under your rib cage that seperates the thoracic cavity from the abdominal cavity. When you breathe in air, your diaphragm contracts, drawing downward, creating a vacuum in the thoracic cavity. Then, this vacuum inflates the lungs by drawing air into the body through the trachea. Once you breathe air out, the diaphragm relaxes allowing the air to flow out as the lunggs deflate.

When you breathe, you inhale air and pass it through your nasal passages where the air is filtered, heated, moistened, and enters the back of your throat where the esophagus is located. While the trachea is located at the front of the throat. The air flows down the trachea, or windpipe, passing your vocal cords, to where the lowest ribs meet the center of your chest. This is where the trachea splits into two tubes, or bronchi, which connect to the lungs. These bronchi, then branch out into smaller bronchioles. At the end of these bronchioles, there are millions of sacs called alveoli.

When the air moves through the lungs, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide in the alveoli. Inside the alveoli, oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. After this, your red blood cells will show up at the alveoli, ready to trade the old carbon dioxide for some new oxygen. Then, the new oxygen is transported by these red blood cells in the arteries throughout the body, where tissues use the oxygen for energy.

In the process of using oxygen, your body´s cells create carbon dioxide. This is the waste your body made, and therefore cannot use. This carbon dioxide is moved by the blood inside the veins back to the lungs, where it is exchanged in the alveoli once more. It then will be moved from the lungs, back up your trachea, and out of your nose and mouth with every single exhale.

For our end result, we have air passing our trachea, to our bronchi that connect to our lungs, into smaller bronchioles, towards the alveoli. Then, from the alveoli, into the red blood cells, to our whole body, back to the alveoli, up our trachea, and out of our mouth and nose releasing carbon dioxide.

Categories: Biology | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “The Breathing System

  1. Marcy Oliver

    Great! Like it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed reading your articles. I think they will be very helpful in the future. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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