The Respiratory System

What do catching your breath, diving underwater, and singing a tune all have in common?  They all require you to take a deep breath, supplying your body with enough oxygen so you can perform other activities.  Breathing is one action you do with or without much thought, but you definitely notice if it gets interrupted.  What exactly is happening during this process that starts the moment you are born?

Starting in your mouth or nose, the air you breathe enters into your respiratory system, moves down your throat and enters your lungs, but the journey of the air’s oxygen does not end there. Through microscopic sacks in your lungs, called alveoli, oxygen is transferred to your red blood cells for delivery to all parts of your body. In exchange, red blood cells take excess carbon dioxide from your body’s cells and return it to your alveoli, where it is pushed out into the atmosphere when you exhale. There is nothing like a breath of fresh air to stimulate your senses, courtesy of your hard-working respiratory system!