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Home Health Disease Health Lung Disease
About Lung Disease

The lung is the essential respiration organ in many air-breathing animals, including most tetrapods, a few fish and a few snails. In mammals and the more complex life forms, the two lungs are located near the backbone on either side of the heart. Their principal function is to transport oxygen from the atmosphere into the bloodstream, and to release carbon dioxide from the bloodstream into the atmosphere. A large surface area is needed for this exchange of gases which is accomplished by the mosaic of specialized cells that form millions of tiny, exceptionally thin-walled air sacs called alveoli.

To understand the anatomy of the lungs, the passage of air through the nose and mouth to the alveoli must be studied. The progression of air through either the mouth or the nose, travels through the nasopharynx, oropharynx, larynx, and the trachea (windpipe).

The lungs of mammals including those of humans, have a soft, spongelike texture and are honeycombed with epithelium, having a much larger surface area in total than the outer surface area of the lung itself.

Breathing is largely driven by the muscular diaphragm at the bottom of the thorax. Contraction of the diaphragm pulls the bottom of the cavity in which the lung is enclosed downward, increasing volume and thus decreasing pressure, causing air to flow into the airways.

Anatomy

In humans, the trachea divides into the two main bronchi that enter the roots of the lungs. The bronchi continue to divide within the lung, and after multiple divisions, give rise to bronchioles. The bronchial tree continues branching until it reaches the level of terminal bronchioles, which lead to alveolar sacs. Alveolar sacs, are made up of clusters of alveoli, like individual grapes within a bunch.

Illu bronchi lungs

Human lungs are located in two cavities on either side of the heart. Though similar in appearance, the two are not identical. Both are separated into lobes by fissures, with three lobes on the right and two on the left. The lobes are further divided into segments and then into lobules, hexagonal divisions of the lungs that are the smallest subdivision visible to the naked eye.[citation needed] The connective tissue that divides lobules is often blackened in smokers. The medial border of the right lung is nearly vertical, while the left lung contains a cardiac notch. The cardiac notch is a concave impression molded to accommodate the shape of the heart.

Non respiratory functions

In addition to their function in respiration, the lungs also:

Alter the pH of blood by facilitating alterations in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide
Filter out small blood clots formed in veins
Filter out gas micro-bubbles occurring in the venous blood stream such as those created during decompression after underwater diving.
Influence the concentration of some biologic substances and drugs used in medicine in blood
Convert angiotensin I to angiotensin II by the action of angiotensin-converting enzyme
May serve as a layer of soft, shock-absorbent protection for the heart, which the lungs flank and nearly enclose.

Reptilian lungs
Main article: Reptile anatomy Respiration

Reptilian lungs are typically ventilated by a combination of expansion and contraction of the ribs via axial muscles and buccal pumping. Crocodilians also rely on the hepatic piston method, in which the liver is pulled back by a muscle anchored to the pubic bone (part of the pelvis), which in turn pulls the bottom of the lungs backward, expanding them. Turtles, which are unable to move their ribs, instead use their forelimbs and pectoral girdle to force air in and out of the lungs.

The lung of most reptiles has a single bronchus running down the centre, from which numerous branches reach out to individual pockets throughout the lungs. These pockets are similar to, but much larger and fewer in number than, mammalian alveoli, and give the lung a sponge-like texture. In tuataras, snakes, and some lizards, the lungs are simpler in structure, similar to that of typical amphibians lactoperoxidase.We find also on the epithelium Dual oxidase 2.

Lungfish

The lungs of lungfish are similar to those of amphibians, with few, if any, internal septa. In the Australian lungfish, there is only a single lung, albeit divided into two lobes. Other lungfish and Polypterus, however, have two lungs, which are located in the upper part of the body, with the connecting duct curving round and above the esophagus. The blood supply also twists around the esophagus, suggesting that the lungs originally evolved in the ventral part of the body, as in other vertebrates.

Invertebrate lungs

Some invertebrates have "lungs" that serve a similar respiratory purpose as, but are not evolutionarily related to, vertebrate lungs. Some arachnids have structures called "book lungs" used for atmospheric gas exchange. The Coconut crab uses structures called Branchiostegal lungs to breathe air and indeed will drown in water, hence it breathes on land and holds its breath underwater. The Pulmonata are an order of snails and slugs that have developed "lungs".

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