What are the primary functions of the respiratory system?

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besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The primary function of the respiratory system is to supply the blood with oxygen. By doing this, the blood can deliver oxygen to all parts of the body. This process happens by breathing. When we breathe, we take in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.

Oxygen enters our bodies through our mouth and nose. It then travels through the larynx and trachea. The trachea branches off into two bronchi which also branch off into bronchial tubes. These lead to the lungs where more tubes attach to alveoli. Alveoli are very small and it is estimated that an adult can have anywhere from 300-600 million alveoli. The alveoli are surrounded by capillaries. The air that is breathed in diffuses through the alveoli into the capillaries which contains arterial blood. At the same time that this is happening, the blood that is not oxygen rich releases its carbon dioxide into the alveoli, and we exhale this air out.

dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The chief role of the respiratory system is to bring in oxygen for use by the cells of body and to rid the body of carbon dioxide. Oxygen is necessary to sustain life. When you breathe, inhale, mostly through the nose, air is warmed and filtered (traps irritants,bacteria,pollen, etc.). It passes down the throat (pharynx), into the trachea (windpipe), into the bronchi, then to the lungs.

In the lungs are air sacs called alveoli, (pulmonary membrane),this is where respiratory gases are exchanged, (oxygen is a gas), the blood takes up the oxygen for use by the cells. When you exhale, carbon dioxide (another gas) is passed out of the body, CO2 is a metabolic waste product. 

givingiswinning | Student

to provide oxygen for our body. 

zumba96 | Student

The main reason is to provide oxygen for our body. The lungs is a major organ within the system that helps facilitate oxygen and blood to help us live. 

atyourservice | Student

To provide oxygen to the body.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Respiratory system refers to the body organs and processes used by living things to obtain and use oxygen. This system also involves the elimination of carbon dioxide gas produced when living cells use oxygen. 

Respiration system  may be divided into three phases or functions described below.

  • External respiration: In this process a plant or animal takes in oxygen from its environment and releases carbon dioxide.
  • Internal respiration: In this process oxygen is carried to the cells of the organism and carbon dioxide is carried away from them.
  • Cellular respiration: In this process oxygen is used in chemical reactions within the cells.  These reactions release energy and produce carbon dioxide and water as waste products.

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