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Biology LibreTexts

16: Respiratory System

  • Page ID
    16822
  • This chapter describes the structure and function of the respiratory system, including how breathing occurs and what controls it, as well as how the process of gas exchange takes place in the lungs. The chapter also describes several disorders of the respiratory system and details the adverse health effects of smoking.

    • 16.1: Case Study: Respiratory System and Gas Exchange
      As you read this chapter on the respiratory system, you will be able to better understand what bronchitis is what the treatment recommendations are for this disease. At the end of the chapter, you will learn more about acute bronchitis, which is the type that Erica has. This information may come in handy to you personally because chances are high that you will get this common infection at some point in your life - there are millions of cases of bronchitis every year!
    • 16.2: Structure and Function of the Respiratory System
      Respiration is the life-sustaining process in which gases are exchanged between the body and the outside atmosphere. Specifically, oxygen moves from the outside air into the body; and water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other waste gases move from inside the body into the outside air. Respiration is carried out mainly by the respiratory system. Respiration by the respiratory system is not the same process as cellular respiration that occurs inside cells, although they are closely connected.
    • 16.3: Breathing
      The swimmer in this photo is doing the butterfly stroke. This swimming style requires the swimmer to carefully control his breathing so it is coordinated with his swimming movements. Breathing is the process of moving air into and out of the lungs, which are the organs in which gas exchange takes place between the atmosphere and the body. Breathing is also called ventilation, and it is one of two parts of the life-sustaining process of respiration, the other part being gas exchange.
    • 16.4: Disorders of the Respiratory System
      Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways in the lungs, in which the airways periodically become inflamed. Another common inflammatory disease of the respiratory tract is pneumonia. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by chronic poor airflow. Lung cancer is a malignant tumor characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in tissues of the lung.
    • 16.5: Smoking and Health
      tobacco smoking has adverse effects on just about every bodily system and organ. The detrimental health effects of smoking depend on the number of years that a person smokes and how much the person smokes. Contrary to popular belief, all forms of tobacco smoke - including smoke from cigars and tobacco pipes - have similar health risks as those of cigarette smoke. Smokeless tobacco may be less of a danger to the lungs and heart, but it too has serious health effects.
    • 16.6: Case Study Bronchitis Conclusion and Chapter Summary
      The little girl shown above seems to be enjoying the air coming out of a humidifier. Inhaling the moist air from a humidifier or steamy shower can feel particularly good if you have a respiratory system infection, such as bronchitis. The moist air helps to loosen and thin mucus in the respiratory system, allowing you to breathe easier.