July 31, 2023

The air we breathe

What do you know about the air we breathe? Facts about lungs & breathing

The lungs are the primary organ of the respiratory system in humans and most other animals, including a few snails and fish. Humans have two lungs, one on the left and one on the right. They are located in the thoracic cavity of the chest. The right lung is larger and heavier than the left, which shares its space in the chest cavity with the heart. It is possible to live a relatively normal live with only one lung.

The lungs together weigh approximately 1.3 kilograms (2.9 pounds). The lower respiratory tract begins at the trachea and branches into the bronchi and bronchioles, which receive air breathed in. The alveoli, where gas exchange takes place, are initially located in the pulmonary bronchioles. Oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide at the blood-air barrier between the alveolar air and the pulmonary capillaries. The lungs contain about 2,400 kilometers of airways and 300 to 500 million alveoli. When expanded, the total surface area of the lungs would be about the size of half a tennis court.

Bronchioles & Alveoli (1)

Bronchioles & Alveoli

A healthy adult breathes in and out about eight liters of air per minute. During physical activity, this value can increase three to four times, and even 15 times for well-trained athletes. An average adult breathes about 12 times per minute (at rest), or about 22,000 times per day. With every breath, our lungs fuel us with the body’s life-sustaining gas, oxygen. But the air around us consists of oxygen and 78 percent nitrogen. What we breathe in large quantities determines our health. The tissue of the lungs can be affected by a number of respiratory diseases, including pneumonia and lung cancer. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, including chronic bronchitis, may be related to smoking or exposure to pollutants such as ultrafine particles.

What we breathe determines our health. Our breathing and our lungs are precious. We need to protect them. At AeroSolfd project, we aim to improve air quality to achieve cleaner air for everyone.


Sources:
https://www.lung.ca/lung-health/lung-info/breathing
https://floridachest.com/pulmonary-blog/lung-facts
https://www.umweltbundesamt.de/sites/default/files/medien/2546/publikationen/sp_1-2019_web.pdf

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