The airways are similar to a tree with a trunk (the trachea), two large main branches (the main bronchi), numerous small branches and twigs (bronchi and Bronchiolen) and – at the very end of lowest branches – many leaves, the so-called pulmonary vesicles or alveoli.
Breathing enriches the blood with oxygen from the air. It works like this: The lungs are bubbles of blood lapped. Ensure the finest blood vessels, the walls enclosing the lungs bubbles. These take oxygen from the air and then carbon dioxide (CO2) from the blood. The red blood cells to carry oxygen recorded in all regions of the body. This exchange works only in the lung bubbles. That is why it is important that the breathing air through the trachea and bronchi unhindered flow can be up there.
We breathe on and off every minute many times. This usually happens unconsciously, without that we must be careful. While it remains unconscious breathing rhythm not always stays the same. For various reasons, we sometimes automatically breathe faster and shallower or slower and deeper on and off. A rapid breathing can load, for example in sport, but also in diseases of the lungs to ensure that the gas needed to be speeded up. In peace or sleep well enough on the other hand, a slow breathing rate to generate enough oxygen in and carbon dioxide.
The airways are not rigid pipes. Rather, the bronchi and Bronchiolen of fine muscle fibers pull together and ensure that the airway can constrict. Again, this happens unconsciously. Inside are the airways with mucous membrane. This includes
- cells that produce mucus,
- immune cells that destroy unwanted substances and
- the mucus in the direction from the trachea bronchus.
With its ability to constrict, mucus production and external transport, the airways have an effective defense system. Allergy triggers such as dust, smoke and small substances, bacteria and viruses can activate the immune system and become an additional stimulus to trigger coughing.