Aspects of the Mechanism of Breathing

Topic: Pulmonology
Words: 309 Pages: 1

The process of moving air inside and outside the human body is referred to as the breathing process. The air breathed in contains oxygen, while the exhaled air contains carbon dioxide. The exchange of gases results in the expansion and contraction of the lungs’ walls (Krause et al., 2018). The process of breathing in is known as inspiration while exhaling air is known as expiration. This paper describes the breathing mechanism with regards to breathing complications that occur due to smoking habits.

The pleural space between the inner and outer walls of the lungs expands and contracts with the thoracic wall movements. Boyle’s law suggests that the inhaled gas volume is inversely proportional to lung pressure (Li et al., 2021). The lungs’ volume increases with an increase in the thoracic cavity, and the lung’s volume decreases and vice versa. The inspiration process is initiated by the contraction of the diaphragm and external intercostal muscles. When we breathe in, the diaphragm flattens to extend the dimensions of the thoracic cavity. The intercostal muscles elevate the ribs to extend the anterior and posterior thoracic cavity. Inhaling air increases the lung’s volume, which reduces the pressure inside. The pressure of the surrounding air increases to force air into the lungs following the pressure gradient.

Normal lungs have Alveoli which expand to absorb oxygen from the air into the bloodstream. The contraction of Alveoli facilitates the exhalation of carbon dioxide from the body system into the lungs. Cigarette smokers develop chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which causes breathing difficulties and can cause death. COPD is a group of lungs diseases that cause blockage of airflow. Since smoke contains manufactured impurities, the Alveoli of COPD patients are weak and less active compared to normal lungs. The harm caused on Alveoli results in breathing challenges since oxygen and carbon dioxide gases are not exchanged effectively.


Krause, S., Evans, J. D., Bon, V., Senkovska, I., Ehrling, S., Stoeck, U., Yot, P. G., Iacomi, P., Llewellyn, P., Maurin, G., Coudert, F. & Kaskel, S. (2018). Adsorption contraction mechanics: Understanding breathing energetics in isoreticular metal–organic frameworks. The Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 122(33), 19171-19179.

Li, H., Gong, Y., Wang, S., & Guo, Q. (2021). The Effect of Earth-air passive breathing on the formation of haze patterns.

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