Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, anatomy and function of the lungs. The human body is made up of trillions of cells. To survive, cells, systems, and organs need oxygen. This oxygen needs to be transported to various locations in the human body. This function is performed via a complex network of blood vessels highly specialized in transporting oxygen to every single cell and picking up carbon dioxide. 

Organs in the Respiratory System

The respiration starts in the nose (nasal cavity) and its role is to warm, moisten, and filter the air when inhaled. The passage of continues to the pharynx (throat) which is a passageway to the trachea. From there it goes to the larynx (voice box) where vocal cords are located. The passage continues to the trachea (windpipe). The trachea is lined with fine hairs called cilia which filter the air before reaching the lungs. The trachea ends with two branches (bronchi) and each branch leads to the lung. The bronchi end with a network of branches called bronchioles. Those branches go into the lungs and ultimately to the air sacs. Air sacs are the alveoli in the lungs and the functional respiratory units of the lungs where the gas exchange happens.

Lungs Location

The lungs are located in the chest and separated from the stomach by a flat muscle called diaphragm. This muscle moves up and down when we exhale carbon dioxide and inhale oxygen. Our body has two lungs. The right lung is divided into three sections called lobes. Whereas the left lung has two lobes and they are smaller since the heart location is there. Each lobe is reckoned to be a mini lung and if one lobe is removed the remaining lobes can maintain their function properly.

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The human body is made up by trillions of cells and to survive and function properly they need oxygen. This oxygen needs to be transported to various locations in the human body. This function is performed via a complex network of blood vessels highly specialized in transporting oxygen to every single cell and picking up carbon dioxide. This specialized network of vessels is called the circulatory system of our body. The heart pumps the blood containing oxygen through our body to the cells, remove the carbon dioxide, and waste of reactions that take place in the cells.

The lungs perform two vital functions in our body – Air distribution and Air exchange. They distribute air to the alveoli through the bronchial tree and the air exchange is a joint work of the alveoli and capillaries network enveloping the alveoli. The reason for the rapid gas exchange between pulmonary capillaries and alveoli is the surface of the later. It has been estimated that there is more than 300 million alveoli and if opened and flattened, they would form a surface equal to a tennis cord, 85 square meters or more.

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The human respiration maintains a constant and stable internal balance in our body. The survival of each cell depends on the proper function of our respiratory system. As mentioned before, cells produce toxic carbon dioxide waste. Hence, the internal environment of our body needs a constant supply with oxygen. The respiration system allows us to obtain the needed oxygen and eliminate carbon dioxide. The breathing process includes two phases. The process of taking in air is called inhalation and it is when we supply our body with oxygen. The process of blowing air out is called expiration and it is when our body gets rid of carbon dioxide.

Because of the specific location, anatomical structure, and function of the lungs they are in constant direct contact with the air. Despite the defense mechanism the respiratory system have, they are still vulnerable to pollutants when constantly exposed. The exposure could be at home or at the workplace. The irritants must be eliminated; otherwise, the lungs may develop bronchitis, emphysema, even cancer. Bronchitis becomes chronic if the irritants are not removed and this repeated infection leads to scarring of the lungs. Those scars lead to pathology (cause for the disease to happen) in the structure and function of the lungs and may cause cancer. The airways become clogged and the capacity of the lung for air exchange decrease.