Lungs are one of the most vital organs, not only in the human body but in every mammal. A crucial part of your Biology curriculum, read this article to learn about the important facts of lungs and related ailments.
Lungs as Part of Respiratory System
Lungs are of central importance in the human respiratory system. It enables gaseous exchange between both inhaled and exhaled air with that of blood.
Respiratory system facts indicate that the system as a whole and the lungs in particular help to allow the oxygen present in air to be taken within the body. It also releases waste of carbon dioxide in the air.
Parts of lungs
Let us take a look at the structure of this organ before we move on to know more about lungs.
Lungs are a pair of air-filled spongy organs which are located on both sides of the chest. The windpipe or trachea passes inhaled oxygen to lungs through fine tubular branches which are called bronchi.
The bronchioles end in minuscule air sacs known as alveoli. Inhaled oxygen undergoes absorption into blood within alveoli.
Lungs are also covered by a fine layer of tissue called pleura. It primarily acts as a lubricant for the extraction and contraction of lungs with every single breath.
Did You Know?
One of the amazing facts about the respiratory system is that human lungs are not of the same size. The right lung is larger than their left lung as this latter has to accommodate the heart.
Functions of Lungs
Apart from enabling breathing, lungs perform other functions such as –
- Lungs engage in filtering small blood clots and air bubbles.
- It can act as a shock absorber for a heart in instances of mild collision.
- The mucus that covers respiratory passages help in trapping bacteria and dust particles.
- Lungs also act as blood reservoirs which may vary from 500 ml to 1000 ml.
- Airflow through lungs enable speech.
Diseases of Lungs
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
A patient suffering from COPD experiences difficulty in exhaling, leading to shortness of breath. The major cause of COPD has been found to be smoking.
It involves frequent coughing with difficulty in breathing. Chronic Bronchitis is a variant of COPD.
Asthma may be triggered by air pollution, viral infections and allergies. It causes wheezing, shortness of breath, spasm and inflammation of bronchi.
Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria cause infection in lungs.
Pleurisy causes inflammation of pleura, causing difficulty in inhalation.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes pneumonia to progress. Symptoms of tuberculosis include weight loss, fever, cough and night sweats, among others.
How to Take Care of Lungs?
Any discussion about lungs should also include the precautions we may adopt to keep it healthy.
- Giving up smoking is a prerequisite of keeping our lungs healthy. Risk of lung cancer is increased by smoking.
- Regular exercise makes lungs function harder and increases the capacity of higher oxygen intake.
- Avoiding exposure to pollutants restricts entry of toxins into lungs.
Test Your Knowledge
- Gaseous exchange between blood and inhaled air is known as –
(a) Circulatory respiration
(b) Internal respiration
(c) External respiration
(d) Cellular respiration
- Which of the following relates to maximum volume of air that may be inhaled into lungs with full force intake?
(a) Inspiratory capacity
(b) Total lung capacity
(c) Tidal volume
(d) Vital capacity
Solutions: i. (c) External respiration, ii. (d) Vital capacity
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is the Major Function of Lungs?
Ans. One of the main facts about lungs is that of gaseous exchange which is known as respiration. Fresh oxygen enters into the blood, and carbon dioxide leaves the blood.
- What is the Role of Lungs in the Circulatory System?
Ans. Deoxygenated blood is carried to lungs by pulmonary arteries. In lungs, carbon dioxide is released, and oxygen is absorbed.
- What are the Major Symptoms of Lung Cancer?
Ans. Major symptoms of lung cancer are – coughing of blood, hoarseness, chest pain, shortness of breath, persistent cough.