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Respiratory System: A Brief Anatomy

The respiratory system plays a vital role in the body by providing oxygen, as well as excreting carbon dioxide. The three major parts of the respiratory system are the airways, the lungs, and the muscles of respiration. 

The airways (nose, mouth, pharynx, larynx etc.) allow air to enter the body and into the lungs. The lungs work to pass oxygen into the body, whilst removing carbon dioxide from the body.

The muscles of respiration, such as the diaphragm, work in unison to pump air into and out of the lungs whilst breathing.

Organs of Respiratory System

Nose and Nasal Cavity

  • Maxillary sinuses are located under the eyes
  • Frontal sinuses are above the eyes.
  • Ethmoidal sinuses are between the eyes.
  • Sphenoidal sinuses are behind the eyes.










Physiology of Respiration

Inhalation is usually an active movement. The contraction of the diaphragm muscles cause a pressure variation, which is equal to the pressures caused by elastic, resistive and inertial components of the respiratory system. In contrast, expiration  is usually a passive process.

Tidal volume. During inspiration, the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles contract, increasing the volume of the thoracic cavity. This causes the intrapleural pressure to become more negative, which increases the transpulmonary pressure, causing the lungs to expand.

The action of breathing in and out is due to changes of pressure within the thorax, in comparison with the outside. This action is also known as external respiration. When we inhale the intercostal muscles (between the ribs) and diaphragm contract to expand the chest cavity.

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