The different parts of the respiratory system enable it to perform its function of getting oxygen into the body and ridding it of carbon dioxide. Let us now find out how each part works.
You eat food to have energy. But before your body can get the energy from the food, your body has to combine that food with oxygen. Oxygen is part of the air you breathe. Breathing is a part of the respiratory process. The nose, nasal cavity and pharynx make up the upper respiratory tract. The larynx, trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli make up the lower respiratory tract. The entire passageway to the lungs is also known as the air tube. The lungs are the largest organs in the respiratory system. Altogether, the different parts of the respiratory system enable it to perform its function of getting oxygen into the body and ridding it of carbon dioxide. Let us now find out how each part works.
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Nose and Nasal Cavity. The nose is the uppermost part of the respiratory tract. It is made up to two bones and cartilage. It forms a hollow passage that connects the nostrils and the top of the throat. This passage is called the nasal cavity. It is lined with a mucous membrane which bears tiny hairs. The function of the nose is to filter, warm and moisten the air before it moves on to other parts of the respiratory tract. The tiny hairs trap the dust particles, bacteria and other foreign bodies that enter the nose. These hairs also induce sneezing to remove foreign bodies lodged in the nose.
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Mouth and Pharynx. Face a mirror and open your mouth. Do you see the arch at the black part of your mouth? This arch leads into your pharynx, or throat. The pharynx is a passageway from the back of the mouth and nose to the upper part of the esophagus and into the voice box, or larynx. The pharynx acts like a station where the food tube and the air tube meet. Food beings swallowed is prevented from entering the air tube by a thin structure, called epiglottis, that closes the air tube. This is why you cannot breathe while you are swallowing.