Respiratory System

The respiratory system is the network of organs and tissues that help you breathe. It includes the airways, lungs and blood vessels. The muscles that power the lungs are also part of the respiratory system. These parts work together to move oxygen throughout the body and clean out waste gases like carbon dioxide.

Respiratory System

Parts of the Respiratory System

The respiratory system has many different parts that work together to help you breathe. Each group of parts has many separate components.

The airways deliver air to the lungs. the airways are a complicated system that includes the:

  • Mouth and nose: Openings that pull air from outside the body into the respiratory system.
  • Sinuses: Hollow areas between the bones in the head that help regulate the temperature and humidity of the air you inhale.
  • Pharynx (throat): Tube that delivers air from the mouth and nose to the trachea (windpipe).
  • Trachea: Passage connecting the throat and lungs.
  • Bronchial tubes: Tubes at the bottom of the windpipe that connect into each lung.
  • Lungs: Two organs that remove oxygen from the air and pass it into the blood.
  • From the lungs, the bloodstream delivers oxygen to all the organs and other tissues.
  • Muscles and bones help move the air you inhale into and out of the lungs. Some of the bones and muscles in the respiratory system include the.
  • Diaphragm: Muscle that helps the lungs pull in air and push it out.
  • Ribs: Bones that surround and protect the lungs and heart.

When you breathe out, the blood carries carbon dioxide and other waste out of the body. Other components that work with the lungs and blood vessels include:

  • Alveoli: Tiny air sacs in the lungs where the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.
  • Bronchioles: Small branches of the bronchial tubes that lead to the alveoli.
  • Capillaries: Blood vessels in the alveoli walls that move oxygen and carbon dioxide.
  • Lung lobes: Sections of the lungs — three lobes in the right lung and two in the left lung.
  • Pleura: Thin sacs that surround each lung lobe and separate the lungs from the chest wall.
  • Some of the other components of the respiratory system include.
  • Cilia: Tiny hairs that move in a wave-like motion to filter dust and other irritants out of the airways.
  • Epiglottis: Tissue flap at the entrance to the trachea that closes when you swallow to keep food and liquids out of the airway.
  • Larynx (voice box): Hollow organ that allows you to talk and make sounds when air moves in and out.


The respiratory system has many functions. Besides helping you inhale (breathe in) and exhale (breathe out), it:

  • Allows you to talk and to smell.
  • Warms air to match the body temperature and moisturizes it to the humidity level the body needs.
  • Delivers oxygen to the cells in the body.
  • Removes waste gases, including carbon dioxide, from the body when you exhale.
  • Protects the airways from harmful substances and irritants.


Conditions that can cause inflammation (swelling, irritation and pain) or otherwise affect the respiratory system include:

  • Allergies: Inhaling proteins, such as dust, mold, and pollen, can cause respiratory allergies in some people. These proteins can cause inflammation in the airways.
  • Asthma: A chronic (long-term) disorder, asthma causes inflammation in the airways that can make breathing difficult.
  • Infection: Infections can lead to pneumonia (inflammation of the lungs) or bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes). Common respiratory infections include the flu (influenza) or a cold.
  • Disease: Respiratory disorders include lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). These illnesses can harm the respiratory system’s ability to deliver oxygen throughout the body and filter out waste gases.
  • Aging: Lung capacity decreases as you get older.
  • Damage: Damage to the respiratory system can cause breathing problems.

Detoxing The Respiratory System

  • Lungs are self-cleaning organs that will begin to heal themselves once they are no longer exposed to pollutants. The best way to ensure your lungs are healthy is by avoiding harmful toxins like cigarette smoke and air pollution, as well as getting regular exercise and eating well.
  • Quitting smoking is the most effective thing you can do to minimize and heal lung damage.
  • Whether you've been smoking for three days or 30 years, quitting is the first step to healthier lungs.
  • Adjusting your diet can also help benefit your lung health, especially if you're living with a chronic condition. Adding antioxidant-rich foods and diet with a variety of vitamins and nutrients will keep your mind and body healthy.
  • Regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, even if you have chronic lung disease. The right amount and type of activity has many benefits, including natural and healthy restoration of your lungs. Be sure to ask your doctor before you make changes to your exercise routine.
  • The quality of the air that we breathe is a huge factor in our lung health. To keep your lungs healthy, it is important to be aware of harmful pollutants and avoid them, if possible. You can check your local air quality index (AQI) using an online tool from If the AQI value is higher, there is more pollution in the air and more concern for people's health and wellbeing.