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Medicine LibreTexts

9: Respiratory System

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  • Learning Objectives

    After completing this section, you should know:

    • why animals need energy and how they make it in cells
    • why animals require oxygen and need to get rid of carbon dioxide
    • what the term gas exchange means
    • the structure of alveoli and how oxygen and carbon dioxide pass across their walls
    • how oxygen and carbon dioxide are carried in the blood
    • the route air takes in the respiratory system (i.e. the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchus, bronchioles, alveoli)
    • the movements of the ribs and diaphragm to bring about inspiration
    • what tidal volume, minute volume and vital capacity are
    • how the rate of breathing is controlled and how this helps regulate the acid-base balance of the blood

    Thumbnail: Lungs diagram with internal details. (CC BY 2.5; Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator).

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Ruth Lawson (Otago Polytechnic; Dunedin, New Zealand)