Facts About Lungs

From the time of our birth, we breathe in and out. Every living organism, from a single-celled amoeba to a multi-celled animal undergoes respiration. Lungs are part of the human respiratory system, which functions and keeps on functioning continuously until the last minute of our life. Similar to the brain, heart and other organs, lungs also play a vital role in both humans and animals including whales, dolphins, frogs, birds, reptiles and all other animals. Compared to all other animals and birds, we humans have specialized lungs.

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How much do we know about lungs and its functions?

Here in this article let’s know about the interesting facts about the lungs.

What are the lungs?

Lungs play a major role in the respiratory system. In humans, a pair of lungs are organized in a systematic way that they are arranged by thin membranes and the smaller tubes called bronchioles. It also includes a balloon-like structure called alveoli and the network of blood capillaries, which increases the surface area of the lungs for exchange of gases.

Also Refer: Human Respiratory System

Humans have two lungs, which are situated within the thoracic cavity of the chest. They are soft, spongy and elastic organs enclosed in a thin membranous sac called the pleura. Lungs are divided into a smaller structure called bronchi which are divided into bronchioles and alveoli, which provide a larger surface area and maximize the exchange of gases inside the lungs.

The study of lungs, structure, functions and disorders related to the lungs is known as pulmonology.

Here are a few interesting facts about the lungs.


Lungs are the major organ of the respiratory system. An average human breathes about 13 pints of air every minute.


The right lung is bigger than the left lung and the total size of both the lungs is equal to the size of a tennis court.


Lungs are the only organs in the human body that can float on water. This is mainly because lungs are composed of tube-like structures called air sacs. Both the lungs and windpipe work together in supplying oxygen to the tissues and cells of the body.


Humans have two lungs and are situated within the thoracic cavity of the chest. Lungs are divided into a smaller structure called bronchi, which are divided into bronchioles.


The lung capacity of a healthy man is estimated to be 6000 ml. The total lung capacity refers to the total volume of air-filled in the lungs after a forced inspiration, which is calculated by the formula –



TLC=Total Lung Capacity.

TV=Tidal Volume.

ERV=Expiratory Reserve Volume.

IRV=Inspiratory Reserve Volume.

RV=Residual Volume.


Regular physical activities can improve lung capacity, which helps in reducing lung-related disorders and also helps in easier and faster movement of the air into the body through the lungs.


Smoking tobacco is the leading risk factor for lung cancer and other lungs related issues. Passive smoking increases the risk of coronary heart disease by 25 to 40 per cent.


Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth disturbs the level of oxygen and carbon dioxide balance in our lungs.


Among all other infectious diseases, Asthma is one of the most common and dreadful diseases that affect the lungs. This type of lung disorder happens when the airways narrow after being irritated, which makes it harder for an individual in breathing.


In the breathing process, inhalation is much stronger than exhalation. As we breathe in, the air gets filtered by the nasal chambers, which is followed by the nose. Therefore, it is preferable to inhale and exhale through the nose than from the mouth.


Yawning helps us to breathe more oxygen into our lungs. It is an involuntary process accompanied by a long inspiration (or) inhalation. This process occurs when the brain cells send a message as it senses the shortage of oxygen and this message tricks our sensory system to take a long deep breath or a yawn.


The respiratory quotient is defined as the ratio of the volume of oxygen consumed and the volume of carbon dioxide eliminated during the act of cellular respiration. It is also referred to as the respiratory ratio and is denoted by RQ. The normal respiratory quotient ranges between 0.7 and 1.0.

Also Refer: Lung Volumes and Lung Capacity

This article concludes an introduction to human lungs and its amazing facts. To know more about the lungs, its structure, functions and other related topics and important questions, keep visiting our website at BYJU’S Biology.

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