Anatomy of the Respiratory System

Respiration

Respiration is the act of breathing:

  • Inhaling (inspiration). The act of breathing in oxygen.

  • Exhaling (expiration). The act of breathing out carbon dioxide.

Respiratory system

The respiratory system is made up of the organs involved in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. These are the parts:

  • Nose

  • Mouth

  • Throat (pharynx)

  • Voice box (larynx)

  • Windpipe (trachea)

  • Large airways (bronchi)

  • Lungs

The upper respiratory tract is made up of the:

  • Nose

  • Nasal cavity

  • Sinuses

  • Larynx

  • Trachea

The lower respiratory tract is made up of the:

  • Lungs

  • Bronchi and bronchioles

  • Alveoli (air sacs)

Lungs

The lungs take in oxygen. The cells of your body need oxygen to live and carry out their normal functions. The lungs also get rid of carbon dioxide, a waste product of the cells.

The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped organs made up of spongy, pinkish-gray tissue. They take up most of the space in the chest (thorax).

The lungs are surrounded by a membrane (pleura).

The lungs are separated from each other by the mediastinum, an area that contains the:

  • Heart and its large vessels

  • Trachea

  • Esophagus

  • Thymus gland

  • Lymph nodes

The right lung has 3 sections, called lobes. The left lung has 2 lobes. When you breathe:

  • Air enters your body through your nose or mouth.

  • Air then travels down the throat through the larynx and trachea.

  • Air goes into the lungs through tubes called main-stem bronchi.

One main-stem bronchus leads to the right lung and one to the left lung:

  • In the lungs, the main-stem bronchi divide into smaller bronchi.

  • The smaller bronchi divide into even smaller tubes (bronchioles).

  • Bronchioles end in tiny air sacs (alveoli).