A basic introduction to Lungs
In this, we will learn more about the structure, location, function, what happens in case of lung damage, and how we can keep our lungs healthy…
What are Lungs?
The lungs are two spongy, air-filled organs on either side of the chest (thorax). The lungs play a crucial role in the body’s respiratory system, the collection of organs and tissues responsible for airflow into and out of the lungs.
Left Lung: Two lobes comprise the left lung: the superior and the inner. Your left lung is smaller than your right because the center lobe of your left lung is occupied by your heart. The cardiac notch (where your heart fits) and the lingula, an extension of the superior lobe, are specific to your left lung.
Right Lung: The right lung comprises three lobes: superior, middle, and inferior. It is both shorter and broader than your left lung. Both of your lungs are protected by a lining known as pleural tissue.
How do lungs look, and where are they present?
The lungs are positioned in the chest, and the thoracic cavity is the compartment that holds them. The diaphragm muscle supports the lungs. The colour of healthy lungs is pinkish-gray. An average lung in an adult human weigh approximately 2.2 pounds and is about 9 inches long when breathing normally and 10.5 inches when fully extended.
What are the significant functions of the lungs?
Gases Exchange: The lungs exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide between the body and the surrounding environment. The lungs absorb oxygen from the air we breathe and carry it to the bloodstream, which is transmitted to the rest of the body. Carbon dioxide, a waste product of cellular metabolism, is taken from the bloodstream and exhaled from the lungs simultaneously.
Regulation of pH: The lungs contribute to the body’s acid-base balance or pH level. Carbon dioxide is an acidic gas that is produced by biological metabolism. The lungs help to keep the blood from getting overly acidic by eliminating carbon dioxide from the body.
Help in immune or defence mechanism: The lungs play an essential part in the body’s protection against infection and disease. They contain specific immune cells that aid in identifying and eliminating infections that enter the body via the respiratory system.
Help in producing sound: The lungs also help to make the sound for speaking and other forms of communication. The vibrations produced by air travelling through the vocal cords in the lungs create sound waves, which are subsequently moulded by the mouth and other structures of the vocal tract.
What happens if the lungs not working properly?
The body’s ability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air we breathe and our blood can be compromised if the lungs are not functioning correctly. This can have a variety of severe health implications, including:
Shortness of breath: When the lungs do not receive enough oxygen, it can cause symptoms of shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
Fatigue: When the body does not get enough oxygen, it can cause exhaustion and weakness.
Decreased physical activity: Those with reduced lung function may find it challenging to engage in physical exercise due to shortness of breath and weariness.
Respiratory infections: Individuals with impaired lung function may be more vulnerable to respiratory infections like pneumonia.
Pulmonary hypertension: In some situations, decreased lung function can increase blood pressure in the arteries supplying the lungs, a disease known as pulmonary hypertension.
Respiratory failure: Under challenging situations, decreased lung function can lead to respiratory failure, a potentially fatal condition in which the lungs cannot give enough oxygen to the body.
What causes Lung damage?
Significant factors that can cause damage to your lungs are:
Tobacco usage: Tobacco use is the primary cause of lung disorders such as lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and emphysema.
Air pollution: Particulate matter, ozone, and nitrogen dioxide are air pollutants that can harm the lungs and cause respiratory difficulties.
Infections: Viral, bacterial, and fungal lung infections can cause pneumonia, bronchitis, and tuberculosis.
Genetic factors: Genetic mutations cause some lung disorders, such as cystic fibrosis.
Professional exposure: Some activities, such as coal mining, might raise the risk of lung illness due to exposure to chemicals, dust, and other pollutants.
Allergies: Allergies can induce airway inflammation, leading to asthma and other respiratory disorders.
Autoimmune illnesses: Such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, can induce lung inflammation and contribute to respiratory issues.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy for cancer treatment can cause lung damage and complications.
Additional considerations: Additional risk factors for lung disease include aging, poor nutrition, and certain drugs.
How one maintains healthy Lungs?
There are numerous things you can do to maintain or improve the health of your lungs, which are:
- The first thing you should do is quit smoking and vaping.
- Attempt to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Obese people have less capacity for lung expansion.
- Work out regularly. Before you begin exercising, consult with your healthcare professional.
- Consume nutritious foods in moderation.
- Keep hydrated unless your provider limits the amount of liquid you can drink.
- Obtain the immunizations recommended by your doctor.
- To avoid infection, thoroughly wash your hands.
- Minimize your contact with sick people.