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The Respiratory System
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © The respiratory system is what we use to breathe. It may seem simple to breathe, but it’s actually a pretty fancy system. Usually you breathe without thinking – about 17,000 times a day! Breathing brings oxygen into your lungs and body. A lot happens between breathing in and breathing out, and all that in about a second! The most common way you can hurt your lungs is by breathing in things that damage them – like smoke or sprayed chemicals. PLEASE DON’T BREATHE ANYTHING THAT COULD HURT YOUR LUNGS!
Here’s one part of the body you might not think is part of breathing: Your BRAIN! THAT’S WHY YOU CAN HOLD YOUR BREATH, BUT YOU HAVE TO BREATHE EVENTUALLY! BRAIN The brain controls every part of your body, and the “breathing centre” is the area of the brain that handles breathing. The brain and the lungs are connected by nerves from the nervous system. Messages, like cars on a highway, travel along the nerves back and forth from your brain and lungs, telling your chest muscles to move to make you breathe. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
Do you know what your nose knows? You’ll know it now! THAT’S WHY SNORING IS LOUD - YOU BREATHE THROUGH YOUR SINUSES AT NIGHT. SINUSES The sinuses are hollow parts of your head bones that go all the way to your nostrils. They can help you out by warming the air breathed through your nose. They also help by making your face bones lighter and your voice louder. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
Swallow hard, but you might hurt your Pharynx. Just kidding. IT’S ALSO THE PLACE WHERE YOUR TONSILS LIVE! PHARYNX When you breathe, air goes through your mouth or nose and down into your throat. The fancy name for your throat is the pharynx. It runs all the way from the back of your nose and mouth to your windpipe. Both air and food go down it, but at different times – so it’s used for two things! The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
WHEN YOU CHOKE AND CAN STILL BREATHE, YOUR FOOD MIGHT BE CAUGHT IN YOUR ESOPHAGUS. ESOPHAGUS The esophagus is located right beneath your pharynx, or throat. Simply, it’s your food tube – and water goes here, too. It’s about 25 centimetres long and ends at your stomach. This is actually part of the food or digestive system, and not your breathing system, but it sure is close! The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
YOU BREATHE OUT THROUGH THE TRACHEA, TOO. TRACHEA Your windpipe or trachea carries air to your lungs. It’s about 10 centimetres long and kept open by C- shaped rings of cartilage. This lets it rest snugly against the esophagus. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
Did you know you have a “food flap?” IF YOU EAT TOO FAST AND “INHALE YOUR FOOD”, IT’S BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T CLOSE YOUR EPIGLOTTIS! EPIGLOTTIS To keep food from getting into your windpipe you need a food flap or a lid. Your epiglottis has rubbery bones called cartilage inside it so it’s stiff like a container lid. It sits on top of your voice box to make sure food doesn’t go into the lungs. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
IF YOUR LARYNX MOVES AT A HIGH SPEED, YOU HEAR HIGH SOUNDS, AND LOW SPEEDS OF MOVEMENT MAKE LOW SOUNDS. LARYNX The bump you can feel on your throat is your voice box or Larynx. It’s just above your windpipe and the walls of the larynx are cartilage, too. It contains and protects the vocal cords that vibrate so you can talk, make silly sounds, and sing. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
WHEN YOU TAKE A DEEP DREATH, YOUR LUNGS GET BIGGER – AND WHEN YOU LET IT OUT, THEY GET SMALER. Your Lungs can easily fill with air because they are spongy, flexible sacks. They are filled with air tubes and blood vessels to move oxygen. The oxygen-carrying red blood cells leave the lung, go to the heart and then to the rest of the body. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
WHEN YOU TAKE A DEEP DREATH, YOUR LUNGS GET BIGGER – AND WHEN YOU LET IT OUT, THEY GET SMALER. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © Another body part that protects the lungs is the pleura, a double skin, or membrane that keeps them inside the chest.
YOUR RIBS ARE SOME OF THE BONES IN YOUR BODY THAT YOU CAN FEEL FROM THE OUTSIDE – TRY IT! Your ribs are the wall protecting the lungs from the outside world. There are 12 pairs of ribs – that’s 24 of them in your chest. The top 7 pairs are stuck to the breastbone in front. And all of them are fastened in the back to your spinal column. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND PUT YOUR HAND ON YOUR BELLY BUTTON – THAT’S THE DIAPHRAGM! Your diaphragm is the muscle that goes across the body and separates the lungs from the stomach. When it’s relaxing it forms a bulge in the chest cavity and your lungs empty. When you breathe in, your brain tells it to flatten, and voila! A breath! The Lung Association of Saskatchewan ©
The insides of your lungs are like an upside down tree. The windpipe is the trunk, and the two big branches are called the bronchi. The many smaller branches are the bronchioles. GUESS WHAT PART OF YOUR LUNGS ARE SORE IF YOU HAVE “BRONCHITIS!”
CILIA ARE HAIR – EXCEPT INSIDE YOUR BODY! Your nose, windpipe, and airways are lined with microscopic hairs called cilia. Lying on top of the cilia is a gooey layer of mucus. Dirt in the air sticks to the mucus and the cilia push it up to your mouth or nose where it can be swallowed or removed. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © CILIA MUCUS
THE BIGGEST PART OF AIR IS NITROGEN. SINCE YOUR BODY CAN’T USE IT, YOU BREATHE THAT OUT, TOO. The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © The alveoli are tiny sacks that hang inside the lung like a bunch of grapes. You have millions of them! Air sacks are surrounded by tiny blood vessels, or capillaries. Oxygen leaves the air sacks and is traded for carbon dioxide by red blood cells. The air sacks release the carbon dioxide when you breathe out. CAPILLARIES BRONCHIOLES
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © Sends a message t o t h e F l a t t e n s E x p a n d Cleans the air from alveoli to Transfers T a k e s o x y g e n t o b o d y R e l a x e s Deflate
Brain Sinuses Oral Cavity Mouth and Tongue Voice Box Windpipe Ribs Bronchi Pharynx Glottis Esophagus Lungs Diaphragm Bronchiole Alveoli Bronchial Cilia Mucus Cells Epiglottis Capillaries Membrane (not shown here) 12. Pleura
The Lung Association of Saskatchewan © __r__ __n S__n__s__s Oral Cavity Mouth and Tongue La__y__ __ T__ __che__ __ __ __s __r__ __chi P__ __ __ynx Glottis E__op__ag__s L__ __ __ Dia__ __ra__m Bronchiole A__veo__ __ Bronchial Cilia Mucus Cells E__ __ __lottis Capillaries Pleura Membrane (not shown here) B a i i u e r n x r a a R i b B o n l l i p h g u n g s h u p i g h a r
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