The respiratory system is responsible for something

How does our respiratory system actually work?

Every cell in the body needs oxygen to do its job and ultimately to ensure our survival. That's why we breathe. Sounds easy, especially since it is done without any action on our part. However, behind every breath there is a complex biological process in which many different organs are involved.

We just do it without worrying about it - on average about 12 to 20 times a minute, 700 million times in a lifetime: We take a breath. When we breathe in, fresh oxygen flows through the body, more precisely: via the blood into the cells. The used air is returned with the waste product carbon dioxide and exhaled. That is a automated process. From the mouth to the lungs, an entire system independently and constantly ensures that the right amounts of oxygen and carbon dioxide are in the organism.

What is the respiratory system?

A whole belongs to the respiratory systemOrgan and tissue groupthat stops where the stomach begins. Some of these components are actively involved in breathing, others passively support the process. The path through which the inhaled air flows in the body is called respiratory tract. These are divided into theupper respiratory tract, which include the nose, mouth, and throat, and lower respiratory tractthat start with the larynx.

Mouth and nose

We breathe in with our mouth or nose. One thing is important herewarmed, humidified and filteredAir to protect the lungs from external stimuli. It works best with the Nasal breathing. Our olfactory organ is lined with hairs and mucous membranes that catch dust, dirt and germs. Air sucked in by the mouth is not so effectively “pre-cleaned”.


The tubes of the digestive and respiratory systems meet in the throat. One of those hollow organs, the Esophagus (also called the esophagus), leads to the stomach. The windpipe, on the other hand, ends in the lungs.

Throat, larynx and epiglottis ensure that the paths of air and food separate here and take the tube intended for them: we swallow, then the epiglottis closes so that food and drinks can slide into the esophagus. If we breathe in, it opens again, clearing the entrance to the windpipe again.

If the epiglottis does not close properly (because we are eating too quickly, for example), it happens that we get food down the "wrong throat" when we swallow. In most cases this is uncomfortable, but not bad. Because the body helps itself and simply coughs up the misdirected food out of the windpipe - provided the piece is not too big.

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The trachea (Tranchea) is a ten centimeter long, elastic tube. Through it both fresh air flows into the lungs and stale air flows out of the body through the upper respiratory tract. Mucous membranes and hair-like cell extensions (cilia) on the inner walls of the tranchea filter dust particles and foreign bodies out of the respiratory system. The larynx is connected to two smaller tubes via the trachea: the bronchi.


The two main bronchi divide into ever finer branches: the Bronchioles. The smallest of them is less than 0.5 millimeters in diameter. They carry air deep into the lungs and end up in balloon-like structures known as Alveoli or Alveoli.


The lungs consist of two wings embedded in the chest cavity. she is thatMain organ of the respiratory system and ultimately responsible for supplying our cells with oxygen.

And this is how it works: Each bronchial tube ends in a pulmonary alveoli, of which there is roughly in each lung three million gives. These elements of the lungs manage the Gas exchange between blood and air. In other words: They release fresh oxygen into the blood and in return they absorb carbon dioxide, which is produced during breathing. The waste product goes back into the upper respiratory tract and leaves the body as stale air.

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Are you okay with breathing?

There are some malfunctions in the body that we don't necessarily notice. For example, if the liver is no longer working properly, it will take a long time before this can be felt. It is different with the breathing system. If you can't get enough air, you will notice it immediately. Conversely, this also means: if everything is good, breathing goes unnoticed. Anyone who gets out of breath unusually quickly, coughs a lot and has pain when taking a breath should be prudent.

The airways consist of several organs and stations. (c) Colourbox

What can I do for my respiratory system?

Anyone who lives a healthy lifestyle has already done a lot for the health of their respiratory tract. The following points about the Protection of bronchi, lungs and co. surprise little, but are important:

  • To do sports: Those who do physical exercise regularly also train their lungs, which have been shown to be able to transport more oxygen into the bloodstream. Endurance sports like cycling, to jog and swimming is particularly good for the respiratory system.
  • Do not smoke: Inhaling cigarette smoke (actively and passively) is probably the worst thing we can do to our airways. Tobacco smoke progressively destroys the lung tissue, tar is deposited, and the cilia are considerably restricted in their protective function. In short: whoever smokes destroys his most important respiratory organ.
  • Pay attention to air quality: Ventilate regularly and thoroughly, avoid excessively high humidity in order to avoid the risk of fungus. The air must not be too dry either, because otherwise the mucous membranes of the airways dry out and are then susceptible to pathogens.
  • Green rooms: Plants increase the oxygen level in the room. They absorb carbon dioxide, which they need for photosynthesis, through pores in their leaves and in exchange give off oxygen to the environment. But some plants can do even more: orchids, ivy and gerberas have been shown to filter pollutants from the air. So just bring a green roommate into your home or office and take a deep breath.
  • Drink plenty: It's as clear as water itself, but too important not to be mentioned. Fluid supports the natural defense mechanism of the airways. Only when the mucous membranes are moist can they protect against intruders such as viruses, bacteria and fungi.

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