Breathing is a natural act that is carried out through the respiratory system, a fundamental biological apparatus in any living organism (simple or complex). This system is composed of multiple organs whose main objective and function is to train all our cells for oxygen and to eliminate, from them, carbon dioxide, a waste or toxic residue from the blood. Therefore, the respiratory system fulfils an essential function for our development and survival: respiration. Do you want to know what parts the respiratory system has and what other functions it performs? If the answer is yes, we recommend that you do not stop reading the following article. Next, we explain the functions of the respiratory system in humans.
Vital functions of the body
To understand the human body a little more, you must know the basic functions that allow us to stay alive. Although there are multiple cells, organs and tissues in our body, there are 12 basic biological systems that must always be in operation. That is, if any of the basic functions were interrupted, it would be impossible to survive. We present the different systems that make up our body:
• Circulatory system: works to move the blood, carrying nutrients and oxygen around our body and removing all the bad waste from the cells.
• Digestive system: absorbs food and its nutrients and gets rid of useless waste.
• Immune system: works in the defense of the organism to protect us from bacteria, viruses or other pathogens that are harmful to our health.
• Nervous system: sends signals to our body to carry out conscious and unconscious actions, from movement to breathing.
• Endocrine system: responsible for secreting hormones to regulate sexual function, metabolism and growth.
• Lymphatic system: removes excess lymphatic fluid and moves white blood cells to fight infection.
• Reproductive system: we speak of two systems differentiated by sex (male and female), when they come together they allow us to reproduce.
• Skeletal system: bones help us move and maintain ourselves.
• Muscular system: they help movement, blood flow and other bodily functions. There are three types of muscles: skeletal, cardiac, and smooth.
• Integumentary system: the one formed by the skin. It protects us first against bacteria, viruses and pathogens while regulating our temperature and helping to eliminate waste through perspiration.
• Urinary system: eliminates urine, that is, waste and waste that our body produces.
• Respiratory system: carries out the breathing process.
As in any other system of our complex organism, the respiratory system is made up of multiple organs that work together to carry out one of the four basic functions of our organism: respiration. But later we will verify that there are other functions that this device carries out daily and unconsciously, that is, it is about involuntary actions ordered by our nervous system.
The parts that make up the human respiratory system, an apparatus that is divided into two parts: the upper respiratory tract consisting of the nose, pharynx, larynx and trachea, and the lower respiratory tract composed of the bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli (where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide) and the lungs (where all the alveoli are concentrated). Last but not least, the diaphragm is a large muscle that helps air enter the lungs by contracting.
Basic functions of the respiratory system
As we have highlighted, the basic function of the respiratory system is, neither more nor less, than respiration, a vital process in order to survive. However, thanks to this device we are also able to develop some other actions, such as phonation, that is, the emission of sounds. In the upper respiratory tract, we find the larynx, an organ in which the vocal cords are found. Thanks to the entry of air through the nose and pharynx, the larynx is capable of producing sounds. Therefore, vocalization is also a main function of the respiratory system. In the following article we will show you in more detail what the function of the larynx is.
On the other hand, the respiratory system allows us to cough or sneeze. This fact is important since it is a defense method for all those foreign particles that can enter our nostrils and cause some irritation. Coughing or sneezing help us eliminate these external agents.
We must also highlight that gas exchange allows us to regulate the pH of our skin, that is, the level of acidity.
Breathing is an involuntary act produced by the respiratory system, being its main and basic function. This process has four essential phases in which gas exchange occurs: inspiration, post-inspiration pause, expiration and post-expiration pause.
• Inspiration: or also called inhalation, it is the entry of air with oxygen.
• Post-inspiration pause: after the air reaches the alveoli, the process of exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide begins, together with the blood.
• Expiration: also known as exhalation, it is the exit of air from the alveoli to the outside, that is, it is about the elimination of carbon dioxide.
• Post-expiration pause: our organs relax to breathe in air again and thus start the respiratory cycle again.
This process allows us to release carbon dioxide that we do not need and fill our body with oxygen in order to survive. Blood, for its part, collects oxygen from the pulmonary alveoli and transports it to all the cells of our body.
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