From the time of our birth, we breathe in and breathe out. Every living organism, from a single-celled amoeba to a multi-celled animal respire. Lungs are part of the human respiratory system, which functions 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.
How much do we know about lungs and their 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 present in the chest cavity. They contain a network of bronchioles that brings the air into the lungs. It also includes balloon-like structures called alveoli and the network of blood capillaries, which increases the surface area of the lungs for the exchange of gases. The bronchioles fill the alveoli with air, and the oxygen from it is diffused into the blood capilaries whereas the carbon dioxide is diffused from capillaries into the alveoli.
Also Refer: Human Respiratory System
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 surface area of both the lungs is 80 sq. m which is roughly equal to the size of a tennis court.
Lungs are the only organs in the human body that can float on water.
Humans have two lungs and are situated within the thoracic cavity of the chest. The trachea 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 = TV + ERV + IRV + RV
TLC=Total Lung Capacity.
ERV=Expiratory Reserve Volume.
IRV=Inspiratory Reserve 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 lung cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke.
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. Therefore, it is preferable to inhale and exhale through the nose than through 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 send a message about the shortage of oxygen and this message tricks our sensory system to take a long deep breath or a yawn.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions on Facts about lungs
What is the difference between the pleura and pleural cavity?
The protective membrane around the lungs is called the pleura. It folds around itself to form a double membrane. The space in between the membranes is called the pleural cavity.
Where are the pleural membranes present?
The inner membrane is attached tightly to the lungs. It is known as the visceral pleura. The outer membrane is attached to the chest wall. It is known as the parietal pleura. The cavity between them is filled with pleural fluid.
What are the 3 major parts of the respiratory system?
The airway (nose, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles), lungs and muscles of respiration are the three parts of the respiratory system.