Meaning of Breathing

What is Breathing:

Respiration is a biological function of living beings that consists of the exchange of gases with the external environment. As a general rule, living things receive oxygen and release carbon dioxide.

If an organism stops breathing, it dies. The breath serves as a primary source of energy that provides vitality to all living things. Therefore, it is characterized by being repetitive, automatic and involuntary.

The word respiration derives from Latin I'll breathe word composed of the prefix re- indicating repetition, and the verb spirare which means to blow.

Types of respiration

Two types of respiration occur in living beings:

External respiration: consists of taking oxygen from the environment, such as air or water, just as humans, animals, plants and a large part of fungi do.

In animals, external respiration can be pulmonary, branchial, tracheal or cutaneous. In plants, respiration occurs through organs found in leaves, stems, and roots.

Internal respiration or cellular respiration: is what occurs at the level of cells and other single-celled organisms such as bacteria and yeast. It is divided into aerobic or anaerobic.

Human respiration

During respiration, humans inhale or breathe in oxygen (O2) from the environment and release carbon dioxide (CO2)

Respiration in humans allows you to inhale oxygen from the air and remove carbon dioxide, a toxic gas that is produced within the body.

Like all mammals, human respiration takes place through the lungs, which are part of our respiratory system. This is composed of the nasal passages, the oral cavity, the pharynx, the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, the alveoli, the lungs and the diaphragm.

Process of human respiration

The process of human respiration consists of the following stages:

1. Ventilation. Ventilation consists of the circulation of air between the outside and the lungs and, therefore, is an expression of what we call external respiration. It consists of two steps:

  • Inhalation or inspiration: it is the entry of air into the lungs. Air enters through the nose, whose internal hairs clean and warm the air. It then passes through the pharynx, larynx, and trachea until it reaches the lungs. The diaphragm is stretched downward to make room for the lungs.
  • Exhalation or expiration: consists of the expulsion of air, which follows the reverse path. From the lungs it passes into the trachea, larynx, pharynx and, finally, it is expelled through the nose. The diaphragm rises, helping the lungs to exhale.

2. Hematosis. It is the exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide that is produced in the alveoli, a kind of tiny sachets found at the ends of the bronchioles. The alveoli capture oxygen and pass it on to the red blood cells.

3. Transportation. Red blood cells receive oxygen from the alveoli and are responsible for distributing it throughout the bloodstream, from where it reaches the cells.

4. Internal gas exchange. Cells take in available oxygen and exchange it for carbon dioxide, which travels back through the blood to the lungs to be removed. This process is an example of internal or cellular respiration.

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