Lungs are sacks of tissue located just below the rib cage and above the diaphragm. They are an important part of the respiratory system and waste management for the body. A person’s lungs are not the same size. The right lung is a little wider than the left lung, but it is also shorter. According to York University, the right lung is shorter because it has to make room for the liver, which is right beneath it. The left lung is narrower because it must make room for the heart. Typically, a man’s lungs can hold more air than a woman’s. At rest, a man’s lungs can hold around 750 cubic centimeters (about 1.5 pints) of air while a woman’s can hold around 285 to 393 cc (0.6 to 0.8 pints) of air, according to York University. “The lungs are over-engineered to accomplish the job that we ask them to do," said Dr. Jonathan P. Parsons, a professor of internal medicine, associate director of Clinical Services, and director of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the OSU Asthma Center at The Ohio State University. "In healthy people without chronic lung disease, even at maximum exercise intensity, we only use 70 percent of the possible lung capacity.”
Function of Lungs:
According to the American Lung Association, adults typically take 15 to 20 breaths a minute, which comes to around 20,000 breaths a day. Though breathing seems simple, it is a very complex process. The right lung is divided into three different sections, called lobes. The left lung has just two lobes. The lobes are made of sponge-like tissue that is surrounded by a membrane called pleura, which separates the lunges from the chest wall. Each lung half has its own pleura sack. This is why, when one lung is punctured, the other can go on working.
The lungs have a special way to protect themselves. Cilia, which look like a coating of very small hairs, line the bronchial tubes. The cilia wave back and forth spreading mucus into the throat so that it can be dispelled by the body. Mucus cleans out the lungs and rids them of dust, germs and any other unwanted items that may end up in the lungs.
Diseases & conditions:
The lungs can have a wide range of problems that can stem from genetics, bad habits, an unhealthy diet and viruses. The most common lung related conditions are reactive airways or asthma, as well as smoking-related emphysema.
• Asthma: It is also called reactive airway disease before a diagnosis of asthma, is a lung disease where the air passageways in the lungs become inflamed and narrowed, making it hard to breath.
• Lung cancer: It is cancer that originates in the lungs. It is the No. 1 cause of deaths from cancer in the world for both men and women. .
• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): It is long-term lung disease that prevents a person from breathing properly due to excess mucus or the degeneration of the lungs. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are considered COPD diseases
• Lung infections: Such as bronchitis or pneumonia, are usually caused by viruses, but can also be caused by fungal organisms or bacteria.
Promoting good lung health:
One of the best ways to promote good lung health is to avoid cigarette smoke because at least 70 out of the 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke damages the cells within the lungs. According to the Mayo Clinic, people who smoke have the greatest risk of lung cancer. The more a person smokes, the greater the risk. Those who smoke are 15 to 30 times more likely to get lung cancer according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.