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The Respiratory System

By Korinne Janezich

Lets focus on airway. There is 2 main structures of the respiratory that help make a passageway for air in the atmosphere to make its way into the body, down into the lungs.

  • The Upper Airway; The upper airway consist of the nasal cavity, Oral cavity, Pharynx which is divided into 3 parts, and the larynx.
  • The pharynx is divided into the Nasopharynx, Oropharynx, and the Laryngopharynx
  • The Lower Airway; The lower airway consist of Trachea, Bronchi, Bronchiolies and the aveoli

Alright Alright, Lets break it down now

Step 1. Air enters the body through the nostrils

Step 2. To the pharynx

The lower airway extends from the lower edge of the larynx to the alveoli and lungs

Larynx, Epiglottis and trachea


The process of gas exchange that occurs between the alveoli and the pulmonary capillaries and between the bodies cells and there adjacent capillaries as well as the use of glucose and oxygen during normal metabolism

Its broken down into four components

1. Pulmonary Ventilation2. External Respiration3. Internal Respiration4. Cellular respiration and metabolism

Alright one more time...

A breakdown of the anatomy of the respiratory system - The respiratory system takes oxygen from the air breathed in, transports it to the alveoli, oxygen crosses over to the capillary and attaches the oxygen to the hemoglobin in the red blood cell or dissolves into the plasma in blood. Then the blood transports the oxygen to the body cells through arteries, arterioles and capillaries of the circulatory system. At the capillaries, the oxygen leaves the blood and crosses over to into the cell, If oxygen supply decreases, the body will become hypoxic (low in oxygen) and eventually die. The respiratory system also eliminates carbon dioxide (major waste product of cellular metabolism) then the carbon dioxide crosses out of the cells, into the capillaries and is transported by the venous system back out the lungs to be exhaled

- Respiration- Physiological process of gas exchange - Ventilation- The passage of air in and out of the lungs; breathing or pulmonary ventilation, or respiration. - Inhalation (Inspiration)- Breathing air in, During this the diaphragm, and the external intercoastal muscles (muscles between the ribs) contracts to increase the size of the chest cavity creating negative pressure inside. - Exhalation (expiration)- Breathing air out, During this the diaphragm extrernal intercoastal muscles relax, Moving the chest cavity to a relaxed position and the pressure is back to a positive.

Control of respiration- Respiration is controlled by the nervous system in a variety of ways 1. Dorsal respiratory group (DRG) 2. Ventral respiratory group (VRG) 3. Pontine respiratory center (pneumotaxic center) All located in the brainstem to control the impulses being sent to the respiratory muscles. Chemoreceptors- Continuously monitor levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH (hydrogen ion concentration) in the artiel blood and stimulate the increase and decrease of impulse from the respiratory rhythm center to control the rate and depth of ventilation. - A central chemoreceptor located in the medulla are sensitive to change in the blood pH and carbon dioxide. - A peripheral chemoreceptor located in the carotid arteries and aortic arch are more sensitiveto change in arterial oxygen Oxygenation- when the blood and cells become saturated with oxygen due to internal respiration and external respiration. Ventilation perfusion mis match- lack of available oxygenated air in the alveoli even though perfusion (blood flow) to the alveoli is adequate, OR when the alveoli is adequately oxygenated but perfusion to the alveoli is poor or combination in both. Hypoxemia- Low oxygen in the arterial blood usually from ventilation perfusion mis match, inadequate ventilatory drive, anemia or carbon monoxide poisoning. Hypoxia- inadequacy in the amount of oxygen being delivered to the cells.

Just remember, Pharynx is broken down into 3 parts. 1. Nasopharynx2. Oropharynx3. Laryngopharynx

The nostrils are warm and moist. Everything coming inside the nose is filtered as it flows over a sticky mucous membrane that lines the nose.

Obviously when our sinuses are blocked (allergies) We can breath out of our mouths but this has less filtration.

The oral cavity also known as the mouth

The Nasal cavity, also known as the nose

The nostrils are also called Nares

The nasal cavity extends from the nostrils, to the end of the conchae, Which is 3 bony ridges located on the sides of the nasal cavity

The nasopharynx is the first and most superior part of the pharynx. Its responsible for only passing air

The oropharynx is the middle part. Air, food and drinks are passed from the oral cavity into oropharynx

Laryngopharynx also known as hypopharynx, is the only portion that extends from the hyoid bone at the base of the tongue, to the openings of the esophagus and larynx.It is where air is transported into the larynx

The larynx, also known as the vocal box, makes up the front portion of the throat and extends from the laryngopharynx to the trachea

The epiglottis is a flexible cartilage to form a flap. When swallowing occurs, the larynx moves upward and the epiglottis covers the opening larynx allowing food to slide over the epiglottis and into the esophagus

The trachea is also known as the windpipes, a passageway for air entering the lungs, goes from the larynx to the carina.

The voice box contains vocal cords made up of thin muscles that produce speech and protect the lower airway

Bronchi is 2 major branches off the trachea, They are large airway that contains cartilage. They extends from the carina, into the lungs then divide into smaller sections/ branches of the bronchi into Bronchioles.

Bronchioles are Increasingly smaller as they continue to branch off, composed of smooth muscle that contracts and lined with mucous membranes that can become inflamed or swollen narrowing the diameter of bronchioles and caused lower airway obstruction such as asthma. The bronchioles become millions of small air sacs in the lungs called Alveoli

Alveoli are air sacs wrapped in a web of thin walled capillaries called pulmonary capillaries

Lungs are the site of gas exchange between alveoli and the blood in capillaries. The lungs are made up of elastic tissue which causes the lungs to react like a rubber band to recoil and collapse.

The lungs are surrounded by two layers of tissue called Pleura. The 2 layers of Pleura - Visceral pleura- innermost covering the lungs - Parietal pleura- Thicker, more elastic layer that adheres to the inner portion of the chest wall - Pleural space- Between the 2 layers, small space that is negative pressure and contains serous fluid that acts as a lubrication to reduce friction between the 2 layers during breathing.

The Diaphragm is a dome shaped muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity, Its a major muscle used in breathing as its responsible for 60-70% of the effort of ventilation.

The pulmonary Ventilation is a mechanical process of air moving in and out of the lungs

The external respiration also known as (Alveoli/capillary gas exchange) gas exchange process between the cells and systemic capillaries. Oxygenates the blood and eliminates carbon dioxide in the lungs

The Internal Respiration also known as (cell/capillary gas exchange) is the gas exchange between the cells and systemic capillaries. Delivers oxygen to the cells and removes carbon dioxide from the cells

Cellular respiration and metabolism also known as (aerobic metabolism) occurs in the cells, Breaks down glucose in the presence of oxygen, produces high amount of ATP (energy) and releases carbon dioxide and water.