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Pleura

A thin layer of tissue that covers the lungs and lines the interior wall of the chest cavity. It protects and cushions the lungs. This tissue secretes a small amount of fluid that acts as a lubricant, allowing the lungs to move smoothly in the chest cavity while breathing. NIH - National Cancer Institute

Figure A shows the location of the respiratory structures in the body. Figure B is an enlarged view of the airways, alveoli (air sacs), and capillaries (tiny blood vessels). Figure C is a closeup view of gas exchange between the capillaries and alveoli. CO2 is carbon dioxide, and O2 is oxygen. Click to enlarge

Gas exchange between the lungs and blood National Institutes of Health

Terms to know

Alveoli
Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles (tiny branches of air tubes) in the lungs. The alveoli are where the lungs and the bloodstream exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Carbon dioxide in the blood passes into the lungs through the alveoli. Oxygen in the lungs passes through the alveoli into the blood.
Arteries
A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body.
Bronchi
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs.
Bronchioles
A tiny branch of air tubes in the lungs.
Capillaries
The smallest of the body's blood vessels. Oxygen and glucose pass through capillary walls and enter the cells. Waste products such as carbon dioxide pass back from the cells into the blood through capillaries.
Carbon Dioxide
A colorless, odorless gas. It is a waste product made by the body. Carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body's tissues to the lungs. Breathing out clears carbon dioxide from the lungs.
Epiglottis
The flap that covers the trachea during swallowing so that food does not enter the lungs.
Larynx (Voice Box)
The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called voice box.
Lungs
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
Nasal Cavity
The space inside the nose.
Oral Cavity (Mouth)
Refers to the mouth. It includes the lips, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the front two thirds of the tongue, the upper and lower gums, the floor of the mouth under the tongue, the bony roof of the mouth, and the small area behind the wisdom teeth.
Oxygen
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.
Pulmonary
Having to do with the lungs.
Pulmonary Artery
The pulmonary artery and its branches deliver blood rich in carbon dioxide (and lacking in oxygen) to the capillaries that surround the air sacs.
Pulmonary Veins
The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
Respiratory System
The organs that are involved in breathing. These include the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Also called respiratory tract.
Thoracic Diaphragm
The thin muscle below the lungs and heart that separates the chest from the abdomen.
Trachea (Windpipe)
The airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs). Also called windpipe.

Terms to know

Alveoli
Tiny air sacs at the end of the bronchioles (tiny branches of air tubes) in the lungs. The alveoli are where...
Arteries
A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body....
Bronchi
The large air passages that lead from the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs....
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