The lungs are a part of the respiratory system. They help keep you alive by exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide. The lungs work with the circulatory system in order to deliver oxygen to every cell in your body.
Blood leaves the heart and travels to the lungs through muscular tubes called arteries. This blood leaving the heart and traveling to the lungs is oxygen poor.
At tiny air sacs called alveoli, the carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen.
The blood returns to the heart by veins and is oxygen rich. This oxygen is used by the mitochondria of the cells to create energy for your body.
Check out these interesting lung facts
The left lung is slightly smaller, allowing room for your heart.
Your heart sits in between your two lungs and our left lung is slightly smaller than your right lung in order to for the heart to sit in your chest cavity perfectly.
You can increase your lung capacity with regular exercise.
The average lung capacity is 5 to 6 liters.
You can measure lung capacity using a spirometer. You simply blow into blow into the spirometer and it measures the volume of air that you exhale. Although exercise cannot make your lungs larger, it does help the muscles of the rib cage and diaphragm become more efficient, which increases the lung's ability to expand. Tidal volume is a measure of the lung’s ability to expand.
You can live with just one lung
Fortunately, you are designed to survive with just one lung. This ability allows the body to have a backup system for this vital organ. Your body can also live with just one kidney, and you have two eyes in case one is damaged.
Lungs have over 300 million tiny air sacs called alveoli
The alveoli are attached to the ends of the lungs passageways. These small air sacs are extremely thin and are surrounded by tiny blood vessels called capillaries. As you breathe you have a higher concentration of oxygen in your lungs and it diffuses out of the alveoli into the blood.
The surface area of your lungs equals about half a tennis court
Imagine taking a sheet of paper the size of a tennis court and compressing this paper to the size of basketball. This is a little what happens with the lungs with all of the passageways and tiny air sacs. This is just another amazing ability of your body.
A dome-shaped muscle called the diaphragm helps the lung expand so that air can travel into the lungs
Go ahead and rest your hand on your stomach. Now take a deep breath. Notice how your stomach moves out as you breathe air in. This is because the diaphragm muscle is pushing upward and expanding your lungs. As they expand the air outside your body can rush in due to lower air pressure in your lungs.
Lungs contain mucus that helps capture microbes we may breathe in.
Coughing this mucus out of your lungs is not pleasant, but it is very important for your health.
This sticky mucus traps harmful microbes before they reach your lungs and possible cause infection such as pneumonia.
Lungs can float in water
Lungs have lots of hollow passageways that are filled with air. As a result, the density of lungs is less than 1 gm/ml so they will float in water
Our lungs breathe in and out over 2000 gallons of air each day
What do 2000 gallons look like? An average sized pool holds around 3000 gallons of water.
Therefore, you breathe in enough air each day in order to almost fill up a normal sized swimming pool.
The lungs are controlled by the autonomic system in the brain
The autonomic system is part of the peripheral system which is controlled by the hypothalamus.
Your brain is constantly regulating the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide and the autonomic system automatically adjusts your rate of breathing.
Your ribs protect and help your lungs breathe
You breathe in and out from 12 to 20 times a minute. The more fit you are the lower this number will be.
As your lungs become more efficient at breathing they can expand larger, which means you don’t have the breath as often.