Women and children breathe at a faster rate than men. Open in a separate window. There is promising evidence that nutritional supplementation in COPD is important and can help to alleviate some of the adverse effects of the disease, particularly muscle wasting and weight loss. Because your lungs aren't made of muscle, inhalation and exhalation are controlled by the diaphragm and muscles between the ribs. The conducting zone of the respiratory system includes the organs and structures not directly involved in gas exchange trachea and bronchi.
CO2 is carbon dioxide, and O2 is oxygen. A major organ of the respiratory system, each lung houses structures of both the conducting and respiratory zones. The main function of the lungs is to perform the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with air from the atmosphere.
To this end, the lungs exchange respiratory gases across a very large epithelial surface area—about 70 square meters—that is highly permeable to gases. The lungs are pyramid-shaped, paired organs that are connected to the trachea by the right and left bronchi; below the lungs is the diaphragm, a flat, dome-shaped muscle located at the base of the lungs and thoracic cavity.
Each lung is composed of smaller units called lobes. Fissures separate these lobes from each other. The right lung consists of three lobes: The left lung consists of two lobes: The major function of the lungs is to perform gas exchange, which requires blood flowing through the lung tissues the pulmonary circulation.
This blood supply contains deoxygenated blood and travels to the lungs where erythrocytes, also known as red blood cells, pick up oxygen to be transported to tissues throughout the body.
The pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood to the lungs. The pulmonary artery branches multiple times as it follows the bronchi, and each branch becomes progressively smaller in diameter down to the tiny capillaries where the alveoli release carbon dioxide from blood into the lungs to be exhaled and take up oxygen from inhaled air to oxygenate the blood. Once the blood is oxygenated, it drains from the alveoli by way of multiple pulmonary veins that exit the lungs to carry oxygen to the rest of the body.
Antioxidants and Oxidative Stress Dietary antioxidants are an important dietary factor in protecting against the damaging effects of oxidative stress in the airways, a characteristic of respiratory diseases [ 50 ]. Vitamin C Vitamin C has been enthusiastically investigated for benefits in asthma and links to asthma prevention. Flavonoids Flavonoids are potent antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory as well as anti-allergic actions due in part, to their ability to neutralise ROS [ 95 ].
Vitamin D Epidemiological studies show promising associations between vitamin D and lung health; however the mechanisms responsible for these effects are poorly understood.
Minerals Some minerals have also been found to be protective in respiratory conditions. Obesity, Adipokines and Respiratory Disease Overnutrition and resulting obesity are clearly linked with asthma, though the mechanisms involved are still under investigation. Undernutrition and Respiratory Disease Though underweight has not been well studied in asthma, an observational study in Japan reported that subjects with asthma who were underweight had poorer asthma control than their normal weight counterparts [ ].
Conclusions Dietary intake appears to be important in both the development and management of respiratory diseases, shown through epidemiological and cross-sectional studies and supported by mechanistic studies in animal models. Open in a separate window. Author Contributions Bronwyn Berthon and Lisa Wood contributed to the study concept and design and were both involved in the preparation and completion of the manuscript.
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