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Anatomy: The Respiratory System Essay

931 words - 4 pages

show that adults contain approximately six million air-filled sacs that are surrounded by capillaries. In this process there is blood that is rich in waste and it releases the CO2 into the alveoli.
The purpose of the respiratory system is breathing which is also known as ventilation. The process of cyclically moving air in and out of the lungs so alveolar air that has given up oxygen and picked up carbon dioxide can be exchanged for fresh air from the atmosphere. Ventilation is accomplished from the system alternately shifting the direction of the pressure gradient for airflow between the atmosphere and the alveoli through the expansion and recoiling of the lungs. Contraction of the inspiratory muscles indirectly produces inflation and deflation of the lungs by continuously expanding and compressing the thoracic cavity with the lungs following its movements. Since energy is required to contract these muscles inspiration is known as an active process. Expiration is known as a passive process during quiet breathing because it is accomplished by elastic recoil of the lungs on relaxing the inspiratory muscles without energy. Ventilation involves two aspects, which are both subject to neural control. Firstly rhythmic cycling between inspiration and expiration and regulation of ventilation magnitude, which depends on the control of respiratory rate and depth of the tidal volume The lungs can be stretched to different degrees during the process of inspiration and then have the ability to recoil to their size before inspiration because of their elastic behavior. Pulmonary compliance is the term used for the dispensability of the lungs and their ability to stretch in response to a given change in the transmural pressure gradient. Elastic recoil refers to the ability of the lung to snap back to resting position during expiration. The lungs can be filled to about 5.5 liters when at maximal inspiration, and on the other hand emptied to about 1 liter on maximal expiration. The normal functioning lung operates at half full. The average person’s lung volume is between 2 to 2.5 liters and the average air volume that is moved in and out with each breath is 500ml. Since oxygen and carbon dioxide are not totally soluble in the blood they are transported by other mechanisms rather then being simply dissolved. Only 1.5 % of the O2 is physically dissolved in the blood where 98.5% is chemically bound to hemoglobin (Hb). Hemoglobin facilitates a greater net transfer of O2 between the alveoli and blood between the blood and tissues cells. Even though the inhalation of oxygen and removal of carbon dioxide is the main focus and goal of the respiratory system, it has other significant roles in the human body. The respiratory system plays a major role in the regulation of the balance of acid...

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