Carbon dioxide , a waste product of metabolism, travels from the blood to the alveoli, where it can be exhaled. Between the alveoli is a thin layer of cells called the interstitium, which contains blood vessels and cells that help support the alveoli. The lungs are covered by a thin tissue layer called the pleura. The same kind of thin tissue lines the inside of the chest cavity -- also called pleura. A thin layer of fluid acts as a lubricant allowing the lungs to slip smoothly as they expand and contract with each breath.
Prev Next The lungs are a pair of spongy, air-filled organs located on either side of the chest thorax. Lung Conditions Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD : Damage to the lungs results in difficulty blowing air out, causing shortness of breath. Smoking is by far the most common cause of COPD. The fragile walls between the lungs' air sacs alveoli are damaged, trapping air in the lungs and making breathing difficult.
Breathtaking Lungs: Their Function and Anatomy
Chronic bronchitis : Repeated, frequent episodes of productive cough, usually caused by smoking. Breathing also becomes difficult in this form of COPD. Pneumonia : Infection in one or both lungs. Bacteria, especially Streptococcus pneumoniae, are the most common cause. Asthma : The lungs' airways bronchi become inflamed and can spasm, causing shortness of breath and wheezing. Allergies, viral infections, or air pollution often trigger asthma symptoms. Acute bronchitis : An infection of the lungs' large airways bronchi , usually caused by a virus.
Cough is the main symptom of acute bronchitis. Pulmonary fibrosis : A form of interstitial lung disease. The interstitium walls between air sacs become scarred, making the lungs stiff and causing shortness of breath. Sarcoidosis : Tiny areas of inflammation can affect all organs in the body, with the lungs involved most of the time. The symptoms are usually mild; sarcoidosis is usually found when X-rays are done for other reasons. Obesity hypoventilation syndrome: Extra weight makes it difficult to expand the chest when breathing. This can lead to long-term breathing problems. Pleural effusion : Fluid builds up in the normally tiny space between the lung and the inside of the chest wall the pleural space.
If large, pleural effusions can cause problems with breathing. Pleurisy : Inflammation of the lining of the lung pleura , which often causes pain when breathing in. Autoimmune conditions, infections, or a pulmonary embolism may cause pleurisy. Bronchiectasis : The airways bronchi become inflamed and expand abnormally, usually after repeated infections. Coughing, with large amounts of mucus, is the main symptom of bronchiectasis.
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis LAM : A rare condition in which cysts form throughout the lungs, causing breathing problems similar to emphysema. LAM occurs almost exclusively in women of childbearing age. Cystic fibrosis : A genetic condition in which mucus does not clear easily from the airways. The excess mucus causes repeated episodes of bronchitis and pneumonia throughout life.
Interstitial lung disease : A collection of conditions in which the interstitium lining between the air sacs becomes diseased. Fibrosis scarring of the interstitium eventually results, if the process can't be stopped. Lung cancer : Cancer may affect almost any part of the lung. Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. Tuberculosis : A slowly progressive pneumonia caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Chronic cough, fever, weight loss, and night sweats are common symptoms of tuberculosis. Acute respiratory distress syndrome ARDS : Severe, sudden injury to the lungs caused by a serious illness. Life support with mechanical ventilation is usually needed to survive until the lungs recover. Coccidioidomycosis : A pneumonia caused by Coccidioides, a fungus found in the soil in the southwestern U. Most people experience no symptoms, or a flu-like illness with complete recovery.
Histoplasmosis : An infection caused by inhaling Histoplasma capsulatum, a fungus found in the soil in the eastern and central U. Most Histoplasma pneumonias are mild, causing only a short-lived cough and flu-like symptoms. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis allergic alveolitis : Inhaled dust causes an allergic reaction in the lungs.
Usually this occurs in farmers or others who work with dried, dusty plant material. Influenza flu : An infection by one or more flu viruses causes fever, body aches, and coughing lasting a week or more. Influenza can progress to life-threatening pneumonia, especially in older people with medical problems. Mesothelioma : A rare form of cancer that forms from the cells lining various organs of the body with the lungs being the most common. Mesothelioma tends to emerge several decades after asbestos exposure. Pertussis whooping cough : A highly contagious infection of the airways bronchi by Bordetella pertussis, causing persistent cough.
A booster vaccine Tdap is recommended for adolescents and adults to prevent pertussis. Pulmonary hypertension : Many conditions can lead to high blood pressure in the arteries leading from the heart to the lungs.
What are Lungs: Definition
A pleurae is a two-layered serous fluid-filled membrane that covers the lungs, providing a cushion to protect it from trauma and also to facilitate the process of respiration . There are two pleurae in the human body, covering the two lungs. The outer layer or parietal pleura lines the inner walls of the chest cavity, while the inner or visceral pleura is attached to the outer surface of the lungs .
The two layers form a hollow space between themselves, which is known as the pleural cavity and is filled with pleural fluid, so the two pleural layers do not stick to each other . The area around the middle of the thorax, between the right and left pleural sacs, is known as the mediastinum . The space is divided into the inferior and superior mediastinum.
The inferior mediastinum is larger between the two and further separated into the posterior, middle, anterior and mediastinum .
Lung function: What do the lungs do?
It is the convex or dome-shaped sheet of muscle that both the lung bases rest upon . The diaphragmatic surface of both the lungs has a concave shape to accommodate the shape of the diaphragm. One of the vital muscles in the respiratory system, it separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity [25, 26]. Costal Surface: The convex, smooth surface, facing the inner surface of the wall of the thorax. It covers the largest area among the three surfaces of the lung .
The costal pleura keeps it separated from the ribs and the deepest intercostal muscles muscles running between the ribs, keeping the rib cage flexible . Mediastinal Surface: The surface between the left and right lungs, it houses the hilum. It also covers the part of the lungs next to the heart .
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The left lung has a deep indentation, referred to as the cardiac notch, along its mediastinal surface to make space for the apex of the heart . These two surfaces meet each other at the apex  , while they are separated at the base by the inferior border of the lung . The smooth and rounded area at the back, where the costal surface and the mediastinal surface meets, is marked as the posterior border .
Diaphragmatic Surface: As the name suggests, this is a concave basal surface, facing the diaphragm. The right lung has a deeper concave base as it is positioned higher to make space for the liver located beneath [7, 30]. The structures in the lungs directly responsible for the function of respiration collectively form the lung parenchyma. It includes the bronchial tubes, blood vessels, alveoli , and alveolar ducts [31, 32]. As the windpipe reaches the lungs, it divides into the left and right primary bronchus, which then enters the left and right lung respectively .
Once inside the lungs, the bronchi divide into narrower tubes called bronchioles , while this again branch into terminal bronchioles, the smallest respiratory tubes in human lungs. This intricate structure in each lung is called the bronchial tree. Both bronchi and bronchioles are encircled with hyaline cartilage rings to help them maintain their shape . Tiny air-filled sacs, alveoli are the primary functioning units of the lungs, the actual site of gas exchange. A healthy person has to million alveoli million in average  , meaning there are around to million alveoli in each lung.
This, in turn, helps the lungs to maintain their shape .
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Each lung has one pulmonary artery and two pulmonary veins. The pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs where it receives oxygen and then is carried back into the heart by the pulmonary veins . There are usually two bronchial arteries on the left and one on the right, to supply the lung roots, visceral pleura, bronchi, and other supporting lung tissues with oxygen-rich blood [39, 40]. The bronchial veins drain the bronchi and the structures in the hilum, as well as some other supporting structures . The nerve supply to the lungs and some of its associated organs and muscles comes from branches of the vagus nerve and the phrenic nerve .
The lungs are responsible for inhalation and exhalation, the method in which the body gets oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide . As documented by the American Lung Association, an adult person generally takes breaths per minute, and about 20, breaths per day . When we inhale, the air enters through the nasal cavity , traveling down via the pharynx , larynx , and trachea to enter the lungs via the two primary bronchi.
Then it reaches the alveoli, the small air sacs in the lungs where the gas exchange occurs, through the bronchioles . The one-cell thick walls of the alveoli have an intricate network of blood capillaries .
Picture of the Lungs
As the oxygen-rich air reaches these alveoli, the blood flowing through the capillaries takes up the oxygen in the method of diffusion occurring across the thin walls of the alveoli and the capillaries the process in which a substance moves from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration . Similarly, the carbon dioxide carried by the blood from the different organs and tissues of the body are absorbed by the alveoli so they can be excreted along with the exhaled air .
TLC refers to the maximum volume of air the lungs of an adult person can hold.
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