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Topic – Your Respiratory System

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Read the Following Selection

Read about your respiratory system or click on the play button below to listen aloud.

Your Respiratory System

In and out, in and out. You do not even think about it, but you breathe constantly. You have to, since breathing brings in the oxygen your cells need to work. Breathing also takes away the carbon dioxide that the cells produce.

The Respiratory Route

When you breathe in, air enters your nose and mouth and flows into your nasal cavity. There, it is warmed and cleaned. Air then flows down the main part of your throat, or pharynx, to your larynx which contains your vocal cords. Then air enters the trachea, or windpipe, which branches into two bronchial tubes—one leading to each lung. Those tubes branch into many smaller tubes called bronchioles. Your lungs are at the end of this system of tubes.

Oxygen In, Carbon Dioxide Out

At the end of the bronchioles are bundles of air sacs called alveoli. There, your blood picks up the oxygen you breathe in and drops off the carbon dioxide you breathe out.

Lung Action

You have two lungs: right and left.

Under the lungs is a muscle called the diaphragm. When this muscle pulls down, your lungs expand and fill with air. You breathe in. When the diaphragm relaxes, air is pushed out of the lungs. You breath out. When you are just sitting, you breathe about 20 times each minute. That number can double when you are running.

Sticky and Slimy

In your nose, mucous glands produce a slimy substance called mucus. Mucus keeps your nose moist, and traps dirt and germs. It helps keep you healthy.

Feel Those Rings

Your trachea is made of rings of firm, flexible cartilage. You can run your fingertips up and down the front of your neck to feel these rings.

Up in Smoke

Healthy lungs are pink and clean. But the lungs of a smoker are dark grey and full of dirt. That is because chemicals in cigarette smoke damage the trachea. It can no longer keep the dirt out. Also, the smallest tubes in the lungs fill up with tar from the cigarettes. Because of this, a smoker’s lungs do not work as well and make breathing difficult.


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