The Respiratory System
Created on September 29, 2020
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The respiratory system is a system of organs and tissues that allow you to breathe. Your lungs, in particular, work with the respiratory system to help you inhale, exhale, and even talk!
INSIDE THE LUNGS
INSIDE THE LUNGS
Your lungs also help you talk! Above the trachea is the larynx, which is often called the voice box. There are two tiny ridges called vocal cords across the voice box which open and close to make sounds. When you exhale, the air from your lungs come through the trachea and larynx to the vocal cords. When the cords vibrate, a sound is make. How loud a sound is and how long is lasts depends on the amount of air coming from your lungs.
Your lungs also help you talk! Above the trachea is the larynx, which is often called the voice box. There are two tiny ridges called vocal cords across the voice box which open and close to make sounds. When you exhale, the air from your lungs come through the trachea and larynx to the vocal cords. When the cords vibrate, a sound is made. How loud a sound is and how long it lasts depends on the amount of air coming from your lungs.
When you breathe out, the opposite of what happens when you breathe in occurs. The diaphragm moves up, which pushes air out of the lungs. Your rib muscles relax and move in, making the space in your chest smaller. At this point, the cells have used the oxygen they needed and your blood carries just carbon dioxide and waste. In order to get rid of this waste, blood comes back through the capillaries and waste enters the alveoli. Then you breathe out - air goes through the bronchioles, the bronchi, the trachea, and then out your nose or mouth.
The lungs are found inside the chest, and are so large that they fill most of the space in the chest. We have two lungs, but they aren’t the same size like our eyes or ears. Our right lung is larger than our left lung because on the left side, we need extra space for the heart. The lungs are protected by our ribcage, which is made of 12 pairs of ribs. Underneath the lungs is a dome-shaped muscle called the diaphragm that works with the lungs to help you inhale and exhale. As you breathe, your diaphragm contracts and then flattens. This allows it to move so your lungs have room to expand as they fill with air. Your rib muscles also lift your ribs up and out to give the lungs space.
At the end of each bronchiole is an area which leads into clumps of tiny air sacs called alveoli. In your lungs, there are about 600 million alveoli. Each alveolus, a singular alveoli, is covered in small blood vessels known as capillaries.
Fun Fact: If you stretched out all the alveoli in your lungs, they would cover a tennis court!
The lungs look pink and squishy, like a sponge, from the outside. However, the important parts are found inside the lungs. At the bottom of the windpipe, the trachea, there are two large tubes called the main stem bronchi. There is one going into the left lung, and one going into the right lung. Each main stem bronchus branches off into smaller tubes called bronchi which get smaller and smaller like tree branches. The smallest tubes are called bronchioles, and they are about as thick as a hair. There are 30,000 bronchioles in each lung.
When you breathe air in through your nose and mouth, the air goes down your trachea, through the branches in your lungs - the bronchi and bronchioles - and then ends up in the alveoli. When these alveoli fill with air, the lungs expand.
The cells in your body need oxygen at all times. The alveoli are what allow oxygen from the air to go into your blood. Oxygens goes through the walls of the alveoli and into the capillaries surrounding them, it enters the blood in the capillaries, and then travels through layers of blood vessels to the heart. The heart sends the oxygenated blood to all the cells in the body.
“Your Lungs & Respiratory System (for Kids) - Nemours KidsHealth.” Edited by KidsHealth Medical Experts, KidsHealth, Nemours Children's Health System, kidshealth.org/en/kids/lungs.html.