Tag Archives: lungs

The Way Your Heart Works

The heart powers circulation by using metabolic energy to elevate the hydrostatic pressure of circulatory fluid.

Blood vessels contain a central cavity lined with endothelium,a single layer of flattened epithelial tissue. Capillaries are the smallest blood vessels. The walls of arteries and veins have more complex organizations than capillaries.

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Blood is a connective tissue consisting of cells suspended in plasma. In the plasma are ions and proteins that function in osmotic regulation, transport, and defense.

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A circulatory system has three components: a circulatory fluid, a set of interconnecting tubes, and a heart. There are two types of circulatory systems, open and closed. In an open system, the circulatory fluid baths the organs directly. In a closed system, blood is confined to vessels and is distict from the circulatory fluid.

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The closed circulatory system of vertebrates is called the cardiovascular system. Blood circulates to and from the heart through a network of vessels.There are three main types of vessels: arteries, capillaries,and veins. Arteries carry blood away from the heart to organs throughout the body. Capillaries are vessels with very thin walls. chemicals are exchanged by diffusion across these walls. Also,veins are the vessels that carry blood back to the heart.

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In vertebrates, there can be either single circulation or double circulation. Bony fishes, sharks, and rays have single circulation, meaning that blood enters in the heart and collects in the atrium before transferring to the ventricle. Amphibians, reptiles, and mammals have doubler circulation. In this type, the pumps for the circuits serve different tissues,but are combined into the heart. The following image shows double circulation in three different vertebrates:

Pranayama: The Nose Knows

The topic of breathing and pranayama (the practice that works to direct the movement of life force) is a fascinating one.

Exhaling through the mouth can be beneficial in that it allows for a greater volume of air to be released at once and may help your jaw to relax. We all do this naturally when we are exasperated, tired, or weary. Take a breath in, then breathe out with a soft, sighing sound: You will feel your shoulders release, and as your jaw releases, your tongue will relax down into the base of the mouth, creating a quieting effect on your mind.16963-122

However, in most instances, it’s preferable to breathe through your nose. There are several reasons for this.

The first reason is that the nose does much more than just let air in and out. There are texts that claim it performs more than 30 functions, such as containing the receptors for smell, filtering out dirt and pathogens, and moisturizing and warming incoming air.

The yogic viewpoint is less concerned with the mechanical functions of the nose and breath and more interested in the process of how our breathing affects the nervous system. The ancient texts describe a network of subtle channels, called nadis, the three most important of which originate at the base of the spine. The ida flows to the left nostril, the pingala flows to the right nostril, and thesushumna is the central channel and balance point of the other two.nadis

The ancient yogis were able to map out thousands of these channels, not through dissection of the body, but through intense practice of introspection and awareness development of both the gross and subtle levels of the body-mind. Current research supports the yogic observations.

The reason that nose breathing is more effective in creating energy changes is that when you breathe in or out through your nose, you stimulate the olfactory nerve; this impulse is then passed on to the hypothalamus, which is connected to the pineal gland, which is associated with the third eye area—seat of the “sat guru,” inner wisdom. Some say the ida and pingala interlace their way up the sushumna and end somewhere in the sinus chambers; others say that they end in the “third eye.” When you breathe through your nose, you are helping to open and balance the sushumna and quiet and steady the mind.

For more helpful information go to the Yoga Journal 

11 Surprising Facts About the Respiratory System

The respiratory system is made up of several organs and structures, including the lungs, windpipe, diaphragm and alveoli. It is responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon-dioxide waste.

Breathing allows you to take in the oxygen your cells need and expel carbon-dioxide waste. But when you exhale, you also breathe out a lot of water.

How much water do you lose from breathing?

When at rest, humans exhale up to 17.5 milliliters (0.59 fluid ounces) of water per hour, according to a 2012 article in the journal Polish Pneumonology and Allergology. But you lose about four times that amount when you exercise, the study said.

The average time an adult can hold his or her breath is between 30 and 60 seconds. This limitation has more to do with the buildup of blood-acidifying carbon dioxide than the lack of oxygen, which your body stores in muscle proteins called myoglobin.

But free divers — people who practice the sport of diving underwater without using equipment like scuba gear — have different techniques, such as hyperventilation, to decrease the concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood, allowing them to hold their breath for remarkably long times. Denmark’s Stig Severinsen currently holds the Guinness World Record for the longest free dive — in 2010, he held his breath underwater for 22 minutes.

Horses only breathe through their noses.

Asthma was once treated with psychotherapy

The lungs are the only organ that can float on water.

When you breathe in, our chest swells; when you breathe out, our chest collapses. But these chest movements are not actually the result of air filling up or exiting the lungs.

During inhalation, the diaphragm — a thin sheet of dome-shaped muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities — contracts and moves down, increasing the space in the chest cavity. At the same time, the muscles between the ribs contract to pull the rib cage upward and outward. During exhalation, the exact opposite happens.

Read more interesting facts about human and animal respiratory systems at  Live Science