The human respiratory organ is essential for breathing to take place. The importance of the respiratory tract is to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream and breathe out carbon dioxide as a waste product.
Below are the primary processes of the respiratory tract.
- Pulmonary ventilation/breathing: This involves taking in the air into the mouth and nose. After that, the air travels through the pharynx, voice box and finally ending up in the lungs. Air is then expelled via the same tract. When the air pressure and size of the lungs changes, the result is alveolar ventilation. As the lungs expand, the air pressure decreases and the air is taken in. During exhalation, the lungs decrease in size; muscles relax, air pressure increases and then air is expelled from the lungs and out of the body.
- External respiration: This happens when there is an exchange of gases between blood and inhaled air in the pulmonary capillaries. This process occurs in the alveoli, which are hundreds of millions of minute sacs of air found in the lungs. Inhaled oxygen bind to hemoprotein molecules in the erythrocyte cells then pumped into the bloodstream. CO2 from the blood without oxygen moves from the capillaries into the alveoli and then it is removed by breathing out.
- Internal respiration: This is the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the body cells & blood in body capillaries.
- Cellular Respiration: This involves transportation of respiratory gases in the body, case in point when blood transports carbon dioxide to the lungs and oxygen to the body cells.
Generally, the respiratory tract also known as the respiratory tree or the trachea is a vital part of the body, and we cannot function without it.