The respiratory system, support comes from within

Exchanges cycle

Cette page est également disponible en français.

Humanity, on the scale of life, it is a one year child on the scale of human life. We know that he will run, eat alone, write, work … but currently, he is dependent on his family environment, himself dependent on what society propose him. To create a fraternal world, we must participate individually in collective orientations, and collective organizations must pay attention to individuals.

The only way to accomplish the impossible is to believe it is possible.
« Alice in the Wonderland »

The respiratory system, a path traveled by the elements exchanged to create actions:

To respond to needs

The respiratory system supplies the body with the oxygen it needs for its metabolic needs, and removes carbon dioxide.

To study the biological function linked to the respiratory system, it is not enough to study the part which deals with the exchanges between oxygen and carbon dioxide, but the whole path of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

This means that, structurally, the respiratory system has:

  • The nose and paranasal sinuses;
  • The pharynx and its different parts: the nasopharynx, the oropharynx, and the laryngo-pharynx;
  • The larynx;
  • The trachea;
  • The bronchi, bronchioles, alveolar ducts and bags, and the alveoli;
  • Lungs.

An external element entering the human body follows a defined path.

A defined path to carry out actions

The organs involved in the respiratory system are mainly covered with ciliated respiratory epithelium. Certain parts are innervated and vascularized.

This allows the respiratory system to perform five functions.

  • Filter, humidify the air and mobilize air to and from the lungs;
  • Present a large gas exchange surface with blood;
  • Help regulate the pH of body fluids;
  • Contribute to phonation;
  • Participate in the olfactory system with odor detection.

It is the fact that oxygen travels through different parts of the body that allows it to perform specific actions.

The exchange is spontaneous

The lungs, the only place for gas exchange, supply the blood with oxygen and take up carbon dioxide.

If oxygen, during its path, between the oral cavity and the lungs, can cause different actions of the body, depending on the presence of dust, cold air … and this during a certain time.

The gas exchange between blood and air will always be identical and almost instantaneous:

  • When blood travels through the alveolar capillaries, oxygen diffuses to the red blood cells, where it is linked to hemoglobin;
  • At the same time, the CO2 detaches from the red cells and diffuses towards the alveoli;
  • Normally, the blood crosses the entire length of the alveolar capillaries in 0.75 seconds, see more quickly if the heart rate is high.
  • The interalveolar septum (separating the alveolar air space from the capillary lumen) is a very thin air-blood barrier. It promotes the rapid diffusion of gases.

Gas exchanges are so efficient that they only take 0.5 seconds.

Let’s use the creative functions of exchange to develop Common Happiness:

If we consider our dreams to be oxygen,
and dialogue is the path that gives them life;

Sharing our dreams can offer the possibility of realizing them;

Let’s decide to create exchange structures,
we will live our waking dreams.

Bibliographic reference:
– The information on the respiratory system is taken from the book « The Netter’s Anatomy Coloring Book », John T. HANSE, Elsevier Masson SAS, 2017 (the french version).

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