Because it’s a gateway to keep us from the death.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ I: Part 1: Introduction ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
After we took a tour of the foundation of feet functions, let’s take a look at the complex yet somewhat vulnerable respiratory system. Be sure to make your tea, sip it, and enjoy the ride!
In our lungs, there are tiny air sacs called alveoli. The fact that our both lungs contain up to four hundred million alveoli is mind-blowing. and if we lay them all out flat, they would cover 100 square meters, enough to cover an entire tennis court!
Who knew there was so much anatomy packed within our ribcage?
Back in the days, while the discovery of anatomical respiration in different species took place in seventeen century by an Italian scientist Marcello Malpighi, which was significantly changed the view we understood our respiratory system and its relationship to other living beings, many great physicians who came before him had also attempted to explain the system through the experience from their livelihoods.
Like Alessandro Benedetti, a Leonardo da Vinci’s contemporary, he had written his thought on the lungs’ vitality back in the fifteenth century, “ The lung changes the breath, as the liver changes the chyle, into food for the vital spirit.”
In other times, different civilisations, like the Greek, Indian and Chinese, had also been trying to use their natural understandings such as the four elements for instance – Earth, Water, Fire, and Air – to integrate human anatomy for improving their lives better. The Chinese mastered its blending between nature, medicine, and the human body, as all had been written in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M), with their own five elements belief system.
It’s a rather concepts-based remedy sometimes and continuously evolving, though, for those who wish to further their understanding of a particular medical case, the concepts in T.C.M might help with the explanation and solution. This automatically advances the medical field and keeps its medical knowledge alive, just as modern medicine is rapidly improved by millions of experts and students around the world who work in their fields daily.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part II: More than just lungs ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
To begin with, one of the fascinating ideas to our lungs’ function is of course the trading between oxygen and carbon dioxide.
It starts with the entrance of the mouth or nose, and the trade road has placed with cilia and saliva as two of our great defenders at the very front line. A free fall follows thru the passing, down to the bottom of the pharynx (/ˈfa.ɹɪŋks/), it appears two tubes that one is for air from throat to lungs – Trachea, and another is for food to stomach – esophagus (/iːˈsɒfəɡəs/).
When air reaches our lungs, passing the bronchioles, alveoli begin their trading with also tiny blood vessels around them – which are called capillaries. In between the seller and buyer so to speak, they both have very thin walls, that allow the oxygen to pass from alveoli to the blood, vice versa with carbon dioxide exchange.
Freefall commodity to cause the air sacs to exist and keep their jobs in place throughout the millions years of human evolution, it’s a good prospect for a job opportunity I reckon.
Joke aside, this amazing exchange is one of many our body uses simple and yet intricate structure to keep us alive in autopilot mode.
All of this process is possible thanks to our diaphragm’s function, which lies in between the chest cavity and abdominal cavity. Also the ribs that protect, as well as support the breathing by moving slightly to help expand and contract, appreciation to them both shouldn’t be overlooked.
Economic-wise the trade is necessary, then defense is also unavoidable. Our respiratory system withholds the life and death switch of all of our cells. Therefore, safeguarding our frontiers is a must.
You may notice, the place to prevent foreign particles, dusts, and viruses doesn’t seem to be large and wide. It’s narrow and quick.
Once they can access our lungs the erosion will start to take form depending on what foreign invader is. Our body doesn’t have many gates opening to the outside world, as many areas have already been covered by skins and hairs, so, many invaders await for the slip of careless moments from us to enter, through food, drink, air, wound, touching and so on.
They’re all about survival, just like us. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial to maintain a healthy relationship with our nasal and oral cavity and the rest of the passways, while resisting any foreign entities that might harm us.
To see the immune system in action, we use smoking tobacco as an example and see how our body would react.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part III: Immune System In Action ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
When tobacco leaf is burnt, the smoker is exposed to massive harmful constituents. Generally, one of the noticeable symptoms with continuous smoking habit would be the irritants around the throat, followed by a gradual, and persistent cough.
It’s because the irritants trigger the inflammation process in the trade road of our respiratory system, it can take place from the nose to lungs. Their actions also simulate the aggressive mucus production, which is a defensive signal to the invaders.
Any part of our body that isn’t covered by skin, mucus has got our back. That includes our nose, mouth, lungs, reproductive area, eyes, and rectum. They trap bacteria, viruses, dirt, and dust with their sticky membrane.
Not only mucus is a loyal defender, but their soft side in keeping our vital organs moisturised is also impressive, like the surface of our eyes for instance.
Besides these two popular functions, mucus helps to determine how quickly mammals expel their poops. And in a woman’s reproductive tract, mucus can control whether a sperm cell gets to an egg.
So, mucus stands at the very front gate too for the sake of our health, defeating the malicious foreign intruders. And Hair-like cilia that line across the gas exchange of our important trade road, pull and push mucus to perform their security route.
To learn more, you can watch this well-made animation of mucus through here.
Sometimes, we mistakenly think that our cough and phlegm are the enemies, but in reality, they’re just a phenomenon of mucus trying to keep the infection out of bay. The same as the inflammation that we feel, is the result of our immune system at war with invaders.
Therefore, we transcend the mindset of eliminating cough or *phlegm, and forwardly focus on what really caused our excessive mucus production?
After treating the cause, through health professionals, persistent cough and phlegm will go away as there isn’t a need for overproduction of mucus.
*When phlegm rises from the lungs into the throat, the body is likely trying to remove it. Spitting it out is healthier than swallowing it.
Bottom line is, mucus is our friend.
Though the cause can be varied, and it might require changing dieting habits or a part of the lifestyle for exercising for instance. Consult your doctor for the best advice.
In T.C.M, the concept about how phlegm stores up goes like this:
吸煙的最大影響，首當其衝是肺部，因為煙為熱毒，入肺後恍如進行一個煲水的狀態，灼損津液變為稠痰，痰熱互結於氣道，引致肺失宣降，故吸煙有多痰、鼻燥、咳嗽、短氣等症狀。另外，脾胃受熱毒侵襲，引致口乾、便秘、苔黃、乾燥、脈細數等熱象。吸煙者亦有其他由熱毒引起的疾病，如形體較瘦、皮膚乾涸，若然本身素體屬於痰濕，吸煙後會變為濕熱毒。- 引句來自註冊中醫師陳巧敏 -
Basically, it suggests that our lungs take the most impact due to the toxicity from tobacco. T.C.M calls it as a “heat toxin” phenomenon. The harmful substances enter the lungs, causing a boiling water-like situation inside. Normal moist of the lungs negatively becomes thick phlegm, and is trapped along with hot heat in the airways.
This causes the lungs to be dysfunctional, so therefore, excessive phlegm, dry nose, cough, and shortness of breath as symptoms occur. In addition, the spleen and stomach are being invaded by heat toxins, resulting in dry mouth, constipation, yellow tongue, and more.
Notice that how imaginative it can be for T.C.M to describe a case, because of their universal principles, but it makes sense as a whole and with the right Chinese medicine, patients get healed very soon.
⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯ Part IV: Prevention + Solution ⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯⌯
So, with different medical points of view we just know, what are the prevention and solution can be implemented to soothe the case?
1: Quit smoking. (Solution)
Our lungs will repair themselves.
It’s interesting to know that after quitting smoking, repairment will take place in our lungs (Self-Regulating System). Although the research is still ongoing and new to the field, suggestions show few cells that go escape anonymously can grow and replace the damaged cells in the lungs when the right time has come. Insane right?
It seems like the creator never runs out of ideas to tell us everything is possible.
Of course, there are many questions remind unanswered. Like how they know where to hide, what exactly causes them to hide, how to hide? What are these cells? Are they always a “runner”? How can these cells repair? And how much regeneration can they reach?
Human body study is surely fascinating.
And thanks to the rapid medical advancement, soon we’ll find out more regarding this matter.
Though, relying on self-regulation of our body might as well take forever to repair. We need medicine and other forms of treatment to speed up the process and leap to a better lifestyle with ease.
2. Identify what sickness you have with your doctor and follow the instructions. (Solution)
Usually, doctors can tell you the exact cause and provide you with medication. If it’s comfortable to do so, follow along with the instructions while doing your own research to understand why the cause happened in the first place.
More than often you will get inspired and realise there are other ways to fix the cause and heal your body. We’re now talking about optimising the best health possible for your body.
3. Do aerobic + anaerobic exercises consistently for faster recovery on the entire respiratory system.(Prevention +Solution)
As you know by now, besides the lungs, our respiratory system is related to airways and ribs, and the diaphragm.
Doing cardiovascular exercises that specifically target our entire breathing path and heart improvement, will forward the full recovery greatly.
4. Don’t forget to boost your immune system through foods and drinks too! (Prevention)
Foods contain rich nutrition that can refill the lack of vitamins for the production of white blood cells for example, will be a very helpful hand to the immune system.
Develop your own diet plan that does not only satisfies your taste for foods but also be the benefits to your body. They’ll thank you through action.
But wait, isn’t my lungs and heart are still in a weaker state that might not be able to take up such a heavy task?
Well, developing a comfortable workout plan for yourself is first and foremost. Simple jogging in a park for 20 minutes at your own, comfortable pace will do, for example. Make sure that you don’t overwork yourself and you’re able to repeat the exercise at least 4 times a week besides your other daily activities. Though you’ll push it everytime, after you’ve clearly specify your goals. Your management skill can be utilised here. This way, you have night times for a deeper rest and passive relaxation. You will start to see the improvement as little as 1 week.
Your shortness of breath will start to subside and get replaced by a pair of healthier lungs that they can handle work-out just like normal other persons would. It is no surprise that an absolute positive mindset takes a big role in this enduring time. But giving yourself one month and seeing the improvement, will surely motivate you to become more active, as you regain the strength and leave the old habit to die. The wish wanting to live a better, healthier lifestyle is accomplishable. Always.
Thank you very much for reading this, I hope it helps you in any way. Step one to get on our athletic road is to maintain a good, prepared respiratory system. Because when we are at the sports state, it’s all about keeping up with the breathing and not getting lost with the pauses. Many give up after the resting period in the session because they don’t know how to keep the fundamentals going. Well, this is another interesting article we can discuss! How is your respiratory system going? Let me know in the comments! #Respiratorysystemmatters #jumptoabetterlife
As always, take care and have a good day my friends! 🙂
Photos by Brett Jordan, Emiliana Hall,Robina Weermeijer, Eanlami 🙂 , Jenna Lee, Nathan Dumlao and Tomasz Woźniak from Unsplash