Alveoli Is: Definition, Function and Alveolar Disease

Alveolus is – Does Sinaumed’s know the characteristics of living things? In biology lessons, you are taught several things that characterize living things. The characteristics referred to here are breathing, needing food and water, growing and developing, reproducing, responding, secreting and having a metabolism.

All creatures that are categorized as “living things” can definitely do the things above. There are many organs both inside and outside the body that work hard to meet the needs of these living things.

One of them is the lung organ. Sinaumed’s could have concluded that the lungs are one of the most important organs for many living things, especially mammals like humans, considering that without this organ, we cannot breathe and will certainly cause death.

In this article, we will study one part of the lungs, namely the alveoli. Alveoli are one of the important components in the lungs. We will study things related to the alveoli such as the meaning and function of the alveoli.

Definition of Alveoli

We will start this article by understanding and learning what alveoli are. It was mentioned earlier that the alveoli are one of the most important components of the lungs. So, what is the alveolus and why is it so important for breathing?

The alveolus is one of millions of hollow, cup-shaped cavities that expand in the lungs, where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide. The term “alveolus” itself is also sometimes better known as an air sac or air space.

These alveoli lie within the respiratory bronchioles and mark the beginning of the respiratory zone. The presence of alveoli is scattered in these bronchioles and lines the walls of the component ducts. On the surface of the alveoli, there will be gas exchange surrounded by a network of capillaries.

This alveolus is a specific part only for mammalian lungs. Different alveolar structures can also be found in other vertebrates and are certainly involved in the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide gases. However, this article will focus on human alveoli only.

In the human lung there are usually about 300 million alveoli with a diameter ranging from 200 to 500 micrometers. The presence of hundreds of millions of these alveoli gives a total surface area for gas exchange of between 70 and 80 square meters.

As Sinaumed’s has read above alveoli can be found in the respiratory bronchioles in a scattered manner and extends from their lumen. And here, this alveolus will have several open channels which are usually 5 sacs or 6 sacs groups of open alveoli.

In addition, it should also be noted that the terminal respiratory unit in the lungs is called the acini and consists of bronchioles, alveolar ducts, alveolar sacs, and alveoli. New alveoli will continue to form until the age of 8 years.

An alveolus consists of a thin, simple layer of epithelium and extracellular matrix surrounded by capillaries. The epithelial layer itself is part of the alveolar membrane which is also known as the membrane and functions as a gas exchange.

This membrane has several layers of fluid, the alveolar lining containing surfactant, the epithelial lining and its basement membrane, the thin interstitial space between the epithelial lining and the capillary membrane, the capillary basement membrane, which is often fused with the alveolar basement membrane, and the capillary endothelial membrane.

Alveolar function

It was also explained earlier that the basic function of the alveoli is as an exchange between oxygen gas and carbon dioxide gas. In this session, Sinaumed’s will learn more deeply and more specifically about the function of the alveoli in breathing.

Inside the alveoli there are several types of cells, namely type 1 cells and type 2 cells. They have their respective roles in respiration, especially gas exchange in the alveoli. In addition, the alveoli also have macrophages that have specific tasks in the lungs.

Type 1 cells are involved in the process of gas exchange between the alveoli and the blood. These cells are only about 25 nanometers in size and it took an electron microscope to prove that all of the alveoli are lined with these cells. This thin layer allows the rapid diffusion of gas exchange between the air in the alveoli and the blood in the surrounding capillaries.

Meanwhile, type 2 cells in the walls of the alveoli contain secretory organelles known as lamellar bodies or lamellar bodies. They fuse with the cell membrane and secrete pulmonary surfactant. This surfactant is a layer of fatty substances, a group that reduces tension on the surface of the alveoli.

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Finally, Sinaumed’s was able to find a macrophage present on the surface of the alveoli, alveolar ducts and bronchioles. These macrophages are basically “scavengers” whose function is to engulf foreign particles in the lungs, such as dust, bacteria and carbon particles. They are also called pulmonary macrophages, and dust cells.

Alveolar Disease

Thus, an explanation of the alveoli can be sufficient up to here. Sinaumed’s should have obtained sufficient information about the alveoli starting from the definition of the alveoli itself, an overview of the shape of the alveoli to the function of the alveoli.

In this session, we will discuss several diseases that can attack the alveoli. Given the important role of the alveoli in human respiration, of course it will also be very important if this component can be free from disease so that it can carry out its functions as it should.

However, there are a number of bacteria, viruses or even cells from the lungs that can cause disease and invade the alveoli. Here, it can be concluded that some of these diseases can cause death due to the alveoli not functioning properly.

There are at least 4 dangerous diseases that can attack the alveoli. Hopefully after reading this session, Sinaumed’s can get important information regarding diseases that can attack the alveoli and always avoid these diseases.

1. Pneumonia

Pneumonia or wet lung occurs due to an infection that causes the alveoli in the lungs to fill with fluid or pus. This makes a person have difficulty in inhaling enough oxygen to reach the person’s bloodstream.

Some of the signs and symptoms of pneumonia usually include chest pain when breathing, coughing up phlegm or mucus, fatigue and loss of appetite, fever, sweating and chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and shortness of breath.

This disease can be transmitted when someone coughs or sneezes. So, it is advisable for people with pneumonia not to be in the same room with other healthy people. The best treatment for pneumonia is by taking antibiotics and getting enough rest.

2. Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is basically pneumonia that slowly gets worse. This disease is caused by a specific bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Besides attacking the lungs, tuberculosis can also attack other parts of the body such as the brain and spine.

For this reason, like pneumonia, tuberculosis can also spread through the air if the sufferer coughs or sneezes. Tuberculosis requires a longer recovery time compared to pneumonia and has more potential to cause death. Antibiotics play a major role in the healing process.

Some of the symptoms that people with tuberculosis feel include coughing that lasts more than 3 weeks, chest pain, coughing up blood, feeling tired all the time, night sweats, chills, fever, loss of appetite and weight loss.

3. Lung Cancer

Sinaumed’s must have known that cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases in the human body. And in the case of lung cancer, they may have no symptoms in the early stages and only become aware of them in the late stages.

There are many symptoms that can be experienced by people with lung cancer. However, what someone needs to watch out for is when they have experienced coughing and bleeding a lot, suddenly shortness of breath, sudden weakness, experiencing vision problems and chest pain that doesn’t go away.

This problem usually occurs because the airway is blocked or because the cancer has spread further to the lungs, nearby areas, or other parts of the body. So, it would be nice if someone is always alert and does routine checks if they have problems with their lungs.

4. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Acute respiratory distress syndrome or also known as ARDS is a condition that causes fluid to accumulate in the lungs so that oxygen cannot enter this organ. Usually, this is a prolonged side effect of the diseases described above.

ARDS can sometimes be life-threatening and can get worse quickly. However, in general, the disease is treatable and most people who recover can recover from it. For this reason, it is important for a person to make a quick diagnosis and treatment before the condition worsens.

Symptoms that people with ARDS need to pay attention to are shortness of breath, low blood pressure, breathing too fast and fast heart beat, cough, fever, chest pain especially when breathing deeply, confusion and fatigue and blue lips or nails due to lack of oxygen in blood.

How to Take Care of Lungs

From reading the descriptions of alveolar diseases above, Sinaumed’s could imagine how unpleasant it would be to contract one of these diseases. Moreover, the fact that many of these diseases can threaten human life if not treated as soon as possible.

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In addition, it should also be understood that there are a number of conditions that can make the condition of the person with the disease worse. This is usually associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and a person’s inability to take care of his lungs so that the person’s condition worsens.

So, it’s good if Sinaumed’s starts adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking good care of your lungs so that you can avoid the potential for contracting the disease. Because, if it has been infected, then the treatment may not be easy, it takes a long time and of course the costs are expensive.

In this last session, you will learn what good habits can help you take care of your lungs. Hopefully, after reading these methods, Sinaumed’s can take better care of your lungs and can avoid various lung diseases.

Do not smoke

Sinaumed’s should already know this one habit as the most damaging habit for the lungs. Because when smoking, a person will inhale various kinds of chemicals that are harmful not only to the lungs, but also to the body as a whole.

So, smoking is not recommended for those of you who want to maintain lung health. In addition, it is also recommended for people who smoke to stop smoking in order to minimize the potential for side effects from smoking itself.

Avoid Pollution

Pollution caused by motor vehicle fumes, smoke from burning garbage or even smoke from cigarettes, contains harmful chemicals that can reduce the quality of breathing and can cause respiratory diseases.

For this reason, if possible, you should avoid locations that have the potential to cause pollution in order to maintain lung health. If this is not possible, wearing a mask in pollution-prone locations can reduce the amount of pollution fumes that enter the lungs.


Exercising can improve the quality of one’s breathing. When a person exercises, the person’s heart will beat faster and the lungs will work harder. Moreover, the human body requires more oxygen to fuel human muscles.

A person’s lungs will increase their activity so they can deliver oxygen while removing carbon dioxide from the body. This is the reason behind why a person’s breathing quality will improve if they are diligent in exercising.

Avoid Potential Infections

Lung infections can come from anywhere, from inhaling dust that has the potential to have millions of bacteria in it or simply holding your nose with dirty hands and causing bacteria from these hands to enter your nose and into your lungs.

It can be said, this infection comes from a dirty lifestyle and environment. It’s best if Sinaumed’s starts diligently cleaning the place where you live and diligently cleans your limbs in order to minimize the presence of bacteria and other microorganisms that could infect your lungs.

Inhale Deeply

Many people take shallow breaths from their chest area and use only a small portion of their lungs. However, it is important to understand that deep breathing helps clear the lungs and creates a full exchange of oxygen.

Taking shallow breaths may be easier to do. However, Sinaumed’s is also advised not to forget to take deep breaths so that your lungs can function properly and correctly. This activity can also help calm down and relax.

With this, the article ends which discusses various things related to the alveoli as well as tips and tricks to take care of your lungs. Hopefully, some of the Sinaumed’s will find this article useful and can be practiced in your life.

However, if any of the Sinaumed’s already have an understanding of the contents of this article, I hope this article can be a reminder for you not to underestimate the lung organ and make you want to always take care of one of the most important organs in your body.

The hope is that after Sinaumed’s can take good care of your lungs, you can slowly take care of other organs too. Because you certainly understand that every organ of the body has an important role in your survival, so everything must function properly so that your quality of life can be maintained.

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Author: M. Adrianto S.