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QQI Level 5 Anatomy and Physiology 5N0749 – Unit 5: The Respiratory System Assignment Example

The respiratory system is responsible for the intake and expulsion of air from the lungs. It includes the nose, mouth, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. The respiratory system works with the circulatory system to oxygenate the blood and remove carbon dioxide.

In this unit, we will examine the anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system. We will discuss the function of each part of the respiratory system, and we will learn about the diseases and disorders that can affect it.

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Learning Outcomes of The Respiratory System

When you have studied this section, you will be able to:

Describe respiratory system

The respiratory system includes the nose, mouth, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. The function of each part will be described in detail below.

  • Nose: The nose is responsible for filtering the air we breathe and warming it before it enters the lungs. The nose also contains the olfactory receptors, which are responsible for our sense of smell.
  • Mouth: The mouth is responsible for the intake of air and food. The teeth and tongue help to grind food and to chew it up before swallowing.
  • Throat: The throat is responsible for the passage of air from the mouth to the larynx. It also contains the tonsils, which are responsible for the immune system.
  • Larynx: The larynx, also known as the voice box, is responsible for the production of sound and speech. It contains vocal cords that can be closed to prevent food from entering the trachea during swallowing. The larynx also contains a special capsule called an epiglottis which covers the opening to the trachea when swallowing to prevent food from entering the lungs.
  • Trachea: The trachea is also called the windpipe, it is responsible for carrying air into the bronchi.
  • Bronchi: The right and left bronchi are tubes that carry air into each lung. The primary function of these tubes is to distribute air to the lungs.
  • Lungs: The lungs are responsible for the exchange of gases between the air and blood. The lungs are also responsible for the removal of carbon dioxide from the blood. In this section, we will discuss the structure and function of the lungs in detail.

Explain the role of muscles on inspiration and expiration

The muscles that control inspiration and expiration are the diaphragm and the intercostal muscles. The diaphragm is a thin sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. When the diaphragm contracts, it pulls downward, which decreases the volume of the chest cavity. This causes air to rush into the lungs, and it is expelled when the diaphragm relaxes. The intercostal muscles are a series of muscles that run between the ribs. These muscles contract to pull the ribs upward and inward, which also decreases the volume of the chest cavity and causes air to rush into the lungs.

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Describe the process of exchange of gases in the alveoli

The process of gas exchange in the alveoli is as follows:

  1. The gas exchange begins with the diffusion of oxygen from the air sacs to the pulmonary capillaries. Gas exchange occurs because there is a difference in partial pressure, which causes oxygen molecules to move from a high partial pressure environment (the alveoli) to a lower partial pressure environment (the pulmonary capillaries).
  2. The oxygen enters the bloodstream at the pulmonary capillaries.
  3. Once the oxygen has diffused into the blood, it travels through arteries to other parts of the body where it is used for cellular respiration.
  4. When cells use oxygen during cellular respiration, carbon dioxide is released as a by-product. This carbon dioxide then diffuses into the blood at the capillary beds and makes its way back to the alveoli to begin the cycle again.

Explain the following terms: tidal volume, inspiratory reserve volume, expiratory reserve volume, vital capacity, and residual volume

The tidal volume, inspiratory reserve volume, expiratory reserve volume, and vital capacity are all considered to be the components of total lung capacity.

  • Tidal volume: The amount of air that is inhaled or exhaled during normal respiration at rest. This varies based on how much an individual has expanded their chest cavity; this amount can be typically about 500 mL.
  • Inspiratory reserve volume: During normal inspiration, the tidal volume is inhaled first. If more air is needed, then inspiratory reserve volume can be inhaled. This increases the tidal volume by about 7000mL to 8000mL of air.
  • Expiratory reserve volume: Inspired air will fill up to 80% of the lungs. Then, the air is exhaled back out until the internal pressure is at about 45% of atmospheric pressure. The amount of air that can be exhaled after inspiration is called the expiratory reserve volume; this varies between 2000mL and 3000mL.
  • Vital capacity: This is the tidal volume plus inspiratory reserve volume plus expiratory reserve volume. The vital capacity is about 8500mL to 9000mL in an adult.
  • Residual volume: This is the amount of air that remains in the lungs after expiration. It is about 1200mL in an adult. This air cannot be expelled, and therefore, it must be breathed out.

Explain the role of blood and nervous systems in the control of breathing

The role of the blood and nervous systems in the control of breathing is to deliver oxygen to the cells and remove carbon dioxide. The blood vessels in the lungs carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the cells, and they carry carbon dioxide-rich blood from the cells back to the heart. The nervous system regulates the rate and depth of breathing in response to changes in the environment (such as changes in carbon dioxide levels) and to changes in the body’s needs (such as during exercise). It also sends messages to the muscles that control breathing.

The blood and nervous systems are responsible for the control of breathing. The blood carries oxygen to the cells and carbon dioxide away from the cells. The nervous system sends messages to the muscles that control respiration, telling them when to contract and when to relax. This allows the individual to breathe in and out at will.

If the blood contains high levels of carbon dioxide, then it will send a message to the brain that more oxygen is needed. Your respiratory center will increase your breathing rate and depth to allow more oxygen into your body.

If there is not enough oxygen in the blood, then less carbon dioxide will be released from the cells. This will fool your respiratory center into thinking that you have too much carbon dioxide, so your breathing will decrease and the kidneys will begin to retain more carbon dioxide.

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