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Breathing System

We take our breathing system for granted because it happens without thinking.

The body has a part of the brain that automatically makes us breathe.

From the moment a baby is born, we breathe in and out, no matter what.

When we breathe in, we are taking in oxygen into our lungs. This is a requirement for us to live. When we exhale or breathe out, we have deposited the oxygen into the lungs and are breathing out carbon dioxide. The oxygen will be picked up by the blood that flows through our lungs and taken to the many parts of the body that need it.

  • Oxygen that is taken in from breathing gives energy to the cells. The carbon dioxide is the waste gas that we don’t need and therefore we exhale it.
  • Every day your lungs take in nearing 2,000 gallons of air. This is sufficient to supply the 2,400 gallons of blood that circulate through your heart every day.
  • At night, the process of inhaling and exhaling is enough air to fill a typical bedroom.

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Your brain is the main control center in communicating with your lungs about how fast or slow to breathe.

When you play and exercise, the brain sends a message to your lungs to work faster. When you sleep at night, your brain tells the lungs to slow down.

Your body protects your lungs by surrounding it with your ribcage.

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Facts for Kids

Your diaphragm is actually a muscle that helps you move your breath in and out of the body. It sits right under your lungs.

When you get the hiccups, it is a spasm of the diaphragm. You have probably heard about a number of ways to try to get rid of hiccups, but one of the ways is to stretch your arms above your head and breathe in and out in a regular method.

Some people stretch their arms up and slowly drink a glass of water. This allows the diagram to relax and stop being in a spasm.

Most people can only hold their breath for thirty seconds. There are people that have practiced, such as pearl divers, so that they can hold their breath longer.

You might be surprised to find out that typically, the left lung is slightly smaller than the right lung. This is because the heart takes up some of the room on the left side.

Each lung has millions of air sacs called alveoli. These are the locations where oxygen is delivered and carbon dioxide is released.

The alveoli have an odd appearance, kind of like grape clusters. They are located at the ends of the tiny air passages of the lungs called the bronchioles. The alveoli walls are surrounded by capillaries for carrying the blood.

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People that live in high pollution areas of the world, specifical cities, have a higher rate of breathing problems due to inhaling all of the pollution and toxins.

When germs or dust enter our breathing area (respiratory system), they can cause irritations in the bronchi, trachea, or larynx. The body has a natural response that triggers coughing.

When we cough, the muscles in the abdomen and chest contract and then relax and this increases the air pressure in the lungs. This causes the dust or material to be sprayed out, along with liquid drops.

This is one of the main ways to transmit colds and the flu.

The bacteria and viruses are carried in the minuscule droplets that are then breathed in by someone else.