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The Lungs


The cardiovascular and respiratory systems participate equally in respiration to provide oxygen and expel the waste gases. The respiratory system provides for gas exchange, intake of oxygen and elimination of carbon dioxide, whereas the cardiovascular system transports the gases in the blood between the lungs and the cells.  The exchange of gases between the atmosphere, blood and cells is respiration.  Specifically, the process includes ventilation (inhale/ exhale), the utilization of oxygen by the tissues, and the giving off of carbon dioxide.

The exchange of respiratory gases between the lungs and blood takes place by diffusion across layers of alveolar and capillary walls.18 There are two types of blood reporting to the lungs. Deoxygenated blood passes through the pulmonary trunk, which divides into a left pulmonary artery that enters the left lung and a right pulmonary artery that enters the right lung.  The venous return of the oxygenated blood is by way of the pulmonary veins.   All four veins drain into the left atrium.

Oxygenated blood is delivered through bronchial arteries, which branch directly from the aorta. At this time the removal of carbon dioxide takes place and the blood exits via pulmonary veins. The intake of air into the lungs occurs because the air pressure inside the lungs is less than the air pressure in the atmosphere. This condition is achieved by increasing the volume (size) of the lungs. For inspiration (inhale) to occur, the lungs must expand.

The diaphragm, the most important muscle of inspiration, is dome-shaped skeletal muscle that forms the floor of the thoracic cavity.  The base of the lung rests on the surface of the diaphragm and moves with the muscle, down during inhaling and up during exhaling. Contraction of the diaphragm causes it to flatten, lowering its dome. This increases the vertical dimension of the thoracic cavity and accounts for the movement of about 75% of the air that enters the lungs during inspiration. Breathing out is called expiration (exhale). It starts when the inspiratory muscles relax. Your body's cells continuously use oxygen for the metabolic reactions that release energy from nutrient molecules and produce ATP, the substance that provides energy for cellular activity. At the same time, these reactions release carbon dioxide which must be eliminated from the body, because in excess, it is toxic to cells.

CALCIUM serves as the principal component of skeletal tissue, imparting to it structural integrity essential for support. It also functions to influence neuromuscular excitability, transmission of nerve impulses and various essential physiologic and biochemical processes. Calcium is essential for the function of nerves and muscles.

VITAMIN D intake effects the absorption efficiency for calcium in the intestine. Unless vitamin D is present as an activating substance, increased calcium intake does not affect the tissues or blood calcium levels.

MAGNESIUM is a naturally occurring mineral found in muscles, bones and soft tissue. It is involved in many enzymatic reactions in intermediary metabolism, including the contractibility of cardiac muscles and is essential for calcium transport and utilization. Magnesium is also associated with regulation of body temperature, neuromuscular contraction, and synthesis of protein.

IRON is best known for being an active part of the hemoglobin molecule, but is also a constituent of the muscle protein myoglobin and of a variety of proteins (enzymes) that speed up chemical reactions in the body. Iron, as a component of hemoglobin, is essential in the transportation of oxygen. It is needed for tissue respiration and the development of blood cells. Additionally, it is also present in enzymes that permit cellular respiration to occur.

VITAMIN B-6 serves as a coenzyme in reactions necessary for the formation of the neurotransmitters and neurohormones. It is necessary for normal neurologic function.
VITAMIN C has multiple uses: increases iron absorption; essential for collagen production and the immune system.

-Drink plenty of quality water everyday.

-Consume plenty of raw foods.  Include garlic and onions in your diet.

-Skinless chicken or turkey, fish, whole grains and brown rice are important dietary additions.

-Avoid fried foods, salt, meat, dairy, white flour and processed foods.

-Healthy lungs allow for the proper entry of oxygen and for the proper disposal of carbon dioxide.

-Avoid tobacco

-Do get moderate exercise regularly but try to exercise where the air is not polluted by heavy automobile traffic

-Avoid stress & sustained tension

-Try to take in plenty of fresh air and avoid sources of air pollution

-If you can avoid driving in rush hour traffic, do so

-Since air is inherently dry, lubrication of the lungs is essential to their proper function.  When in defensive mode, the moisture helps the lungs to capture extraneous particles that might be in the air and expel them. Proper lubrication of the lungs is a cleansing function.

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