If you did not have a respiratory system, you would not be able to live without being hooked up to machines to do it for you. The respiratory system contains airways and lungs that are linked to blood vessels, and then there are the muscles that enable us to breathe. Your airways would be considered your mouth, nose, nasal cavities, larynx, trachea and the tubes that are called bronchi along with their branches. It is easier to picture if you understand that the airways are essentially pipes that will carry the oxygen rich air you bring in through your nose or mouth.
It should also be noted that there are minuscule hairs called cilia that are coated with a sticky substance. These cilia are used to trap germs and any other foreign objects entering the respiratory system. The oxygenated air you bring in will become warm and semi-wet, and then will start its journey down through the larynx and the trachea. Your trachea then splits into two bronchi and enters the lungs.
Next come the lungs and their blood vessels, the blood vessels are what will get the oxygen out to the rest of the body and help to remove the “waste gas” from your system. The lungs lie to either side of the breastbone and fill what is called the chest cavity. The left lung will be smaller than the right due to accommodating the heart. Within the lungs the bronchi will branch out into thousands of smaller and thinner tube-like shapes that are called bronchioles, and at the end of the bronchioles are sacs called alveoli.
Each of these air sacs is covered in tiny blood vessels that are called capillaries, and the capillaries are connected to your bodies’ network of arteries and veins. It sounds like a complicated process and it is, but you do not have to think about doing it because your body does it for you. The pulmonary artery and its vessels will deliver blood that is immersed in carbon dioxide to the capillaries that are hanging around the air sacs. The air sacs will then screen out the carbon dioxide and release that back into the air while the now oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the heart and out through the body.
The last significant part of the respiratory system is the muscles that help all the other parts of the system to do their jobs. These muscles include the diaphragm, which separates the chest and stomach cavities and is the main muscle for breathing. The intercostal muscles are the ones located between your ribs, and again play a major role in your breathing. Your abdominal muscles, located beneath the diaphragm, are there to help you breathe out. The muscles in your neck and in the collarbone area will help you to breathe if the other muscles are having a hard time breathing.