Love your lung week takes place from the 21st to the 27th June. This week aims to raise the importance of having good lung health.
Respiratory disease affects 1 in 5 people and is the third greatest cause of death in England. Before we delve into different lung conditions lets look at the structure of the lung.
Overview of the anatomy of the lung
The right lung has three lobes – a superior, middle, and inferior lobe whereas the left lung has two lobes – a superior and inferior, this is to accommodate the heart. These spongy organs facilitate gas exchange. Oxygen is absorbed into the blood and waste gases such as carbon dioxide are excreted and exhaled.
The lungs have two sets of blood supply, the pulmonary and systemic circuits. The pulmonary circuit brings deoxygenated blood to the lungs for gas exchange and the systemic circuit takes the oxygenated blood back to the heart to redistribute all over the body.
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped muscle beneath the lungs that is essential in breathing. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts and moves down, this increases the space in the chest cavity. The intercostal muscles of the rubs contract to pull the rib cage up and outwards. During exhalation, the opposite occurs.
The Bronchial Tree
The average person breathes in about 11,000 litres of air every day. This is thanks to the bronchial tree. The bronchial tree is a branched structure that allows air to travel from the trachea to the lungs. It is comprised of the primary, secondary and tertiary bronchi. This then branches into bronchioles which end in small sacs called alveoli. Alveoli are one cell thick and are the site of gas exchange. There are roughly 480 million alveoli in the lungs. During inhalation, the concentration of oxygen is greater in the alveoli than in the red blood cells, the oxygen subsequently enters the red blood cells, binding to the haemoglobin to provide oxygen to the body. In exhalation, the opposite happens, the concentration of carbon dioxide is higher in the red blood cells than in the alveoli, the carbon dioxide leaves the red blood cells, enters the alveoli, and is exhaled. Gas exchange is essential for maintaining efficiency in the body.
How to love your lungs
Keeping your lungs healthy and loved, is essential to maintaining a healthy body. By not smoking you can greatly decrease your chances of developing lung cancer or linked diseases such as COPD. The 1000’s of chemicals that you inhale from smoking a cigarette greatly damage your lungs, causing the build-up of tar, causing inflammation and irritation, not allowing the lungs to expand to their full potential during inhalation, creating breathing difficulties and potentially a smoker’s cough.
Regular exercise is the best way to keep your lungs healthy. When exercising, your heart beats faster as you require more oxygen to be pumped around your body. This means your lungs work harder to expel the excess carbon dioxide to provide the much-needed oxygen., Exercise allows for the lungs to become more efficient and have a greater lung capacity. Healthy, strong lungs help to resist ageing and disease.
Give your lungs some extra love this week by exercising or practising breathing techniques!