Alveoli Are: Definition, Functions, and Parts of the Lungs

Alveoli are – One of the most important parts of the human respiratory system are the lungs. This organ itself consists of many parts, each of which has its own function. The alveolus itself is a part of the lungs that has a very unique shape, similar to a small bag clustered like grapes. However, make no mistake, even though it has a very small size, the alveoli have a very important function

In this discussion, we will get to know the function of the alveoli further. However, before discussing the function of the alveoli, it’s better if we discuss the meaning of alveoli first.

Definition of Alveoli

Alveolus is an anatomical structure with a hollow shape. Found in the parenchyma of the lungs, which then is the end of the respiratory tract, where both sides become the exchange of air and blood.

In addition, the alveolus is also an anatomy that is only owned by mammals. In vertebrates, the gas exchange system has a different structure. The alveolar membrane is the surface on which gas exchange occurs. Carbon dioxide-rich blood is pumped from the rest of the body into the alveolar blood vessels, where, by diffusion, it releases carbon dioxide and absorbs oxygen.

That way, humans can do breathing properly. If the alveoli are disturbed, then the human breathing process will also be disturbed.

Alveolar function

Alveoli as one part of the human respiratory system which has an important function. In short, it can be said that the function of the alveoli is as a place for exchanging oxygen and carbon dioxide in the lungs. Here are other functions of the alveoli that you need to know:

1. Function of Alveoli: Where Gas Exchange Occurs

One of the functions of the alveoli in the human respiratory system is as a place for gas exchange to occur in the lungs, where each wall is then lined with flat, squamous cells (squamous alveolar and contain lots of capillaries. This is where gas exchange occurs in the body.

This gas exchange itself consists of absorbing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the body. Gas exchange that occurs in the lungs is passive diffusion, where when the exchange process takes place, the cells in the organs will no longer need energy to be burned.

Of the gases which will then undergo an exchange process, this will then move through a concentration gradient, namely from a high concentration to a lower concentration. This indicates that the oxygen level in the alveoli will be at a high concentration.

This process takes place because our bodies need oxygen continuously. A similar condition will also occur with carbon dioxide, where the carbon dioxide content in the blood is in a high concentration, while the carbon dioxide level in the alveoli is in a low concentration gradient.

2. Function of Alveoli: Place of Gas Exchange from Alveoli to Blood Capillaries

The next function of the alveoli in the human respiratory system is as a place for gas exchange from the alveoli to the blood capillaries. The work processes that occur in this gas exchange are as follows:

  1. Oxygen (O2) contained in the alveoli diffuses to penetrate the alveolar walls, then penetrates the walls of the blood capillaries that cover the alveoli.
  2. Oxygen then enters the blood vessels, which will then go through a binding process carried out by hemoglobin (or the red dye in blood) contained in red blood cells which in turn will produce oxyhemoglobin (HbO2).
  3. Blood will circulate oxygen to all organs of the body, and in the body’s cells, oxygen will then be used in the oxidation process, which is released again, so that oxyhemoglobin will then turn into hemoglobin again.

The oxygen level that will enter the body every day then reaches approximately 300 liters of oxygen. Most of these compounds will then be transported by hemoglobin in red blood cells, and only about 2 to 3 percent can be dissolved in blood plasma.

3. Function of Alveoli: Exchange of Gas from Blood Capillaries To Alveoli

The function of the alveoli in the human respiratory system also applies to the reverse system. Carbon dioxide that occurs as a result of the energy formation process carried out by oxygen entering the body, where in addition to energy this process will also produce carbon dioxide (CO2).

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Under normal conditions, the body cannot produce around 200 cc of carbon dioxide per day, and only about 4.3 cc can dissolve in each liter of blood. This is what will cause the formation of carbonic acid (H2CO2) which makes the blood pH acidic. To neutralize the acidity of the pH, Na+ ions and K+ ions are needed.

Furthermore, this carbon dioxide will be released back into the lungs through the bloodstream. In this process the concentration of carbon dioxide and carbonic acid itself will be broken down, where this carbonic acid will become carbon dioxide and water again.

What you need to know is that the CO2 level released by the blood to return to the lungs is around 10 percent and the rest will function to maintain the acidity of the blood pH, namely in the form of bicarbonate (HCO3-).

4. Function of Alveoli: Air storage for a while

The last function of the alveoli in the human respiratory system is to store air, even if only for a short time. However, this time allows the absorption of air containing oxygen into the blood.

Parts of the Lungs

The lungs are organs whose job is to process incoming air and separate oxygen and carbon dioxide. This organ itself consists of two pairs, each part of which has different characteristics. Intrigued by the function and what are the parts of the lungs? Check out the more detailed explanation below:

Basically, the right lung and the left lung have different characteristics. The adult left lung weighs 325-550 grams. Meanwhile, the right lung weighs around 375-600 grams. Each lung is then divided into several sections, which are referred to as lobes, namely:

  • The left lung consists of two lobes. The heart is in a groove (heart notch) which is located in the lower lobe area.
  • The right lung has three lobes. That is why, the right lung has a larger size and weight when compared to the left lung.

The lungs are then separated by an area known as the mediastinum. This area contains the heart, trachea, esophagus, and lymph nodes. Apart from that, the lungs are also covered by a protective membrane known as the pleura and are separated from the abdominal cavity by a muscular diaphragm. Here below is a complete explanation of the anatomy of the lungs:

1. Pleura

The first lung anatomy is the pleura. Pleura as a thin double-layered membrane (membrane) that lines the lungs. In addition, this layer also functions to secrete fluid (pleural fluid) which is also called serous fluid. Its function is to lubricate the inside of the lung cavity so it doesn’t irritate the lungs when they expand and contract when breathing. The pleura itself consists of two layers, namely:

  • Pleura in (visceral), namely the lining that is next to the lungs
  • Pleura outer (parietal), the layer that functions to line the chest wall

Meanwhile, the area contained in these two layers is called the pleural cavity. Several types of diseases below can then appear when there is a problem with the pleura:

  • Pleurisy
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pneumothorax
  • Hemothorax
  • Pleural tumor

2. Bronchus (Bronchi)

Bronchus is a branch of the windpipe which is located after the windpipe (trachea) before the lungs. Apart from that, the bronchi are also the airways which ensure that air enters properly from the trachea to the alveoli.

The bronchi are also the entry and exit routes for air, so that the bronchi then function to prevent infection. This is because the bronchi are lined with various types of cells, including ciliated (hairy) and mucous cells.

These cells then trap disease-carrying bacteria so they don’t enter the lungs. If the bronchi have problems, it can cause several diseases, including:

  • Bronchiectasis Disease
  • Bronchospasm Disease
  • Bronchiolitis Disease
  • Bronchopulmonary dysplasia disease

3. Bronchioles (Bronchioles)

Each of these main bronchi divides or branches into smaller bronchi (which have small glands and cartilage in their walls). These smaller bronchi eventually divide into even smaller tubes, which are known as bronchioles.

Bronchioles are the smallest branches of the bronchi that do not have glands and cartilage. Bronchioles also function to channel air from the bronchi to the alveoli. In addition, the bronchioles function to control the amount of air that enters and leaves during the breathing process. If this part of the lung is problematic, it can cause several diseases, including:

  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

4. Alveoli

This part of the lung anatomy then becomes the smallest group called alveolar sacs at the ends of the bronchioles. Each alveoli is a concave-shaped cavity surrounded by many small capillaries. The lungs then produce a mixture of fat and protein called lung surfactant.

This mixture of fat and protein coats the surface of the alveoli and makes it easier for them to inflate and collapse with each breath. The alveoli (alveoli) function as a place for exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.

The alveoli then absorb oxygen from the air carried by the bronchioles, then flow it into the blood. After that, carbon dioxide, which is a waste product from the body’s cells, flows from the blood to the alveoli to be exhaled. This gas exchange occurs through the very thin walls of the alveoli and capillaries. If the alveoli have problems, it can cause several diseases, including:

  • Cardiogenic as well as non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema
  • Lung hemorrhage, usually due to vasculitis (eg Churg-Strauss)
  • Pneumonic Disease
  • Alveolar proteinosis and amyloidosis
  • Bronchoalveolar carcinoma disease
  • Alveolar microlithiasis disease
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How to Maintain Lung Health

By maintaining lung health, it reduces the risk of respiratory diseases. Here are some ways you can do to protect the lungs.

1. Quit smoking

This is because smoking is a major cause of lung disease, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

2. Do not inhale exposure to cigarette smoke

In addition to quitting smoking, you are also advised to avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. The reason is because passive smokers who inhale cigarette smoke then have the same risk of disease as active smokers.

3. Washing hands

Washing hands using soap and running water. The risk of being infected with viruses and bacteria can be avoided by washing hands before eating, after eating and after defecating.

From the discussion above it can be said that the alveoli are one of the important parts of the lungs which function to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Thus the discussion about the alveolus, from its definition to its function. Hopefully all the discussion above adds to your insight.

Recommended Books Related to Alveoli that You Must Read

1. Respiratory System Disorder Herbs

The respiratory system is very vital for humans because it is a marker of whether a person is still alive or not. If the respiratory system is disturbed, all body systems will be disrupted. Unfortunately, respiratory system disorders are sometimes not felt before. When it was felt, it was already very bad. Therefore you should be vigilant! Respiratory system disorders include:

  • Pneumonia (pneumonia)
  • Lung cancer
  • TB (tuberculosis)
  • Bronchitis (inflammation of the air passages to the lungs)
  • Pleurisy (inflammation of the lining of the lungs) This book will discuss disorders of the human respiratory system, from symptoms to how to prevent and how to treat. Equipped with easy and cheap ways to treat disorders of the respiratory system with herbs, this book is a must have for those of you who care about your health and that of your family. Want to prevent and be able to treat respiratory system diseases yourself? Read this book!

2. Anti-Smoking Guide for Students, Teachers & Parents

One of the non-smoking areas (KTR) as regulated in the Health Law is a place for teaching and learning process and a place of worship. Therefore, all education stakeholders have a responsibility to build a clean, healthy and smoke-free environment. This must be continuously endeavored as part of strengthening character education in schools and madrasas. This book is important as a guide, especially teachers and education stakeholders to ensure smoking cessation among students.

(Dr. H. Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, M.Si. Minister of Religion of the Republic of Indonesia) It is estimated that there are 16.4 million new smokers in Indonesia, adolescents aged 19 and under. In addition, one in five children between the ages of 13-16 have ever smoked. This causes Indonesia to become the country with the highest number of teenage smokers in the world as well as the highest male smokers in the world too, namely 66%. The strategic point in achieving global and national development targets is ensuring quality young people.

3. I Choose Healthy and Healing, the Revised Decade edition

This book is in the general category so this book can be read by anyone. However, these books are usually sought after and read by adults. The book entitled “I Choose to Be Healthy and Heal” by Dr. This Tan Shot Yen contains about a healthy lifestyle, because basically being healthy is a nature that must be grateful for and guarded. This book is written using light vocabulary so that readers will easily understand the contents of the book.

In addition, the material in each chapter is also well presented so that readers will not get bored. Parenting has changed, communication patterns have changed, education patterns have also changed. But there is something that is absolutely impossible to change: the nature of life, because it is a nature. Fitrah is the way home when humans get lost which can lead to falling seriously ill. Returning to the right path or further away from escaping….. is a choice day by day.

4. Food Rules: Food Regulations and Instructions for Eaters

Don’t eat anything that our great-grandmothers didn’t recognize as food.

  • Avoid food products that claim to be good for health.
  • Avoid foods that pretend to be something they are not.
  • Eat only food that can spoil.
  • Eat food from ingredients that we can imagine raw or grown in nature.
  • Eat only food that has been cooked by humans.
  • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
  • Colorful meal.
  • Eat sweet food as we find it in nature.
  • Be suspicious of non-traditional foods.
  • Stop eating before full.
  • Eat when we are hungry, not when we are bored.
  • Eat slowly.
  • “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a beggar.”

If you want to find a book on how to quit smoking, you can get it at . To support Sinaumed’s in adding insight, sinaumedia always provides quality and original books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.