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Lungs are vital organs in the respiratory system responsible for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body. Here's an overview of the lungs, their structure, function, and importance in maintaining overall health:

Structure:

1. Bronchi and Bronchioles:

  • The trachea branches into bronchi, which further divide into smaller bronchioles, forming the airways that carry air into the lungs.

2. Alveoli:

  • Tiny air sacs at the end of bronchioles where gas exchange occurs. Oxygen enters the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide is removed.

3. Lobes:

  • The right lung has three lobes, while the left lung has two. The lobes are separated by fissures.

4. Pleura:

  • Double-layered membrane covering the lungs and lining the chest cavity. The pleura helps reduce friction during breathing.

Function:

1. Breathing (Ventilation):

  • The lungs expand and contract during breathing. Inhalation brings in oxygen-rich air, and exhalation expels carbon dioxide.

2. Gas Exchange:

  • In the alveoli, oxygen from inhaled air crosses into the bloodstream, while carbon dioxide from the blood is released into the airways to be exhaled.

3. Transport of Gases:

  • Oxygen is transported by red blood cells to tissues and organs, supporting cellular function. Carbon dioxide is carried back to the lungs for removal.

4. Regulation of pH:

  • The lungs play a role in maintaining the body's acid-base balance by regulating the levels of carbon dioxide.

5. Filtering and Humidifying Air:

  • The airways trap and filter particles, and the respiratory system adds moisture to inhaled air.

Importance in Health:

1. Oxygen Supply:

  • Lungs provide the body with a constant supply of oxygen, essential for cellular respiration and energy production.

2. Immune Defense:

  • Mucus and cilia in the respiratory tract trap and remove particles and pathogens, contributing to immune defense.

3. Respiratory Health:

  • Healthy lungs support efficient gas exchange, preventing respiratory conditions and maintaining overall well-being.

4. Physical Activity:

  • Adequate lung function is crucial for physical activity and exercise, providing the necessary oxygen for muscles.

Common Conditions:

1. Pneumonia:

  • Infection or inflammation of the lungs, affecting the air sacs.

2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):

  • Progressive lung diseases, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema, causing airflow obstruction.

3. Asthma:

  • Chronic inflammation of the airways, leading to episodes of wheezing and difficulty breathing.

4. Lung Cancer:

  • Uncontrolled cell growth in the lungs, often associated with smoking or exposure to carcinogens.

Maintaining Lung Health:

1. Avoiding Smoking:

  • Smoking is a major risk factor for lung diseases, including cancer. Quitting smoking significantly improves lung health.

2. Regular Exercise:

  • Physical activity promotes lung efficiency and overall respiratory health.

3. Proper Nutrition:

  • A balanced diet supports overall health, including the respiratory system.

4. Breathing Exercises:

  • Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can enhance lung capacity and function.

Conclusion:

Lungs play a critical role in sustaining life by facilitating the exchange of gases necessary for cellular function. Maintaining lung health through healthy lifestyle choices is crucial for overall well-being and longevity. Regular check-ups and prompt medical attention for respiratory symptoms contribute to early detection and management of potential lung conditions.