Organs of the Respiratory System: All Organs Involved in Breathing and Their Functions

Its main function is to allow the exchange of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) in different parts of the body.

The organs of the respiratory system are made up of the nose, mouth, pharynx, epiglottis, larynx , trachea, lungs, diaphragm, and bronchial tubes. The largest of these airways is the trachea.

The airways are tubes or tubes that carry air through your body and into the lungs.

The various organs of the respiratory system all work together and play a crucial role in bringing in oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

These organs begin their work from the moment the air enters the airways.

Most of the organs of the respiratory system are found in the upper respiratory tract, except for the trachea and bronchi. The sinuses are also part of the upper respiratory tract.

The lungs and diaphragm are located in the lower respiratory system. These are critical to the function of breathing.

In the lungs are the vital parts necessary to provide oxygen to the body. The diaphragm is a muscle found under the lungs and above the abdomen.

The movement it makes when it expands and then contracts is what makes it possible for air to enter the lungs.

The breathing

Breathing is the act of breathing, it is done through two mechanisms such as:

  • Inhalation (inspiration): which is the act of breathing oxygen.
  • Exhalation (expiration): which is the act of exhaling carbon dioxide.

Air enters the body through the nose or mouth and enters the airways. The airways are the tubes that carry air to the lungs.

As they branch out, they become smaller and smaller, eventually connecting to tiny air sacs where the lungs take in fresh oxygen from the air and exchange it for carbon dioxide in the blood, a waste product of cells. .

This oxygen is then carried through the blood to the rest of the body, where it is used for energy. The cells in your body need oxygen to live and carry out their normal functions.

Organs of the respiratory system

The nasal cavity

It is a respiratory organ through which air is inhaled and exhaled.

The nostrils (also known as external nostrils) are the parts of the nose that facilitate the inhalation and exhalation process.

It is the place where the air is inhaled through the nostrils and is filtered and humidified. This organ also plays an olfactory role.

The oral cavity

It is a secondary air entry point of the respiratory system that is used when there is physical exertion and partial obstruction of the nose.

This organ also helps in the ingestion of food.

The larynx

It is a part of the respiratory system that connects the trachea with the laryngopharynx. The larynx controls the flow of air at the time of breathing.

The larynx, also known as the resonance box, is made up of important cartilages such as the epiglottis, thyroid and cricoid, other cartilages present within the larynx are corniculate, arytenoid and cuneiform.

The corniculate cartilage facilitates the flap-like action of the epiglottis. The muscular cartilaginous duct in the upper terminal part of the trachea; It contains the vocal cords and plays a role in speech and breathing.

The epiglottis

It is a mobile cartilaginous plate that ensures that the larynx closes during ingestion of food and prevents food or water from entering the trachea.

It is a flap-like structure. The epiglottis is made up of cartilaginous tissue and is located at the opening of the larynx, back of the tongue, the epiglottis is covered in mucus.

Since the epiglottis wears out easily (it is found in the digestive tract), its surface is covered by a layer of stratified, non-keratinized squamous epithelial cells.


The pharynx is a tubular part of the respiratory system that allows air to pass into the lungs.

It is a muscular membranous canal that connects the nasal cavity to the larynx and the oral cavity to the esophagus.

It is located behind the nasal and oral cavities. The pharynx is connected to the cavity of the skull by muscles and connective tissues.

This organ also allows breathing, ingestion of food and speech.


The trachea runs from the larynx to the bronchi. In fact, the trachea branches into the bronchi, facilitating the flow of air into the bronchi.

The trachea is located on the anterior side of the esophagus, has a tubular shape with a diameter of 1 inch and a length of 4.25 inches.

Its length extends between the sixth cervical and fifth thoracic vertebrae. The trachea is made up of 15 to 20 pieces of C-shaped hyaline cartilage.

These pieces are held together by the tracheal muscles.

This muscular cartilaginous tract, which is a continuation of the larynx, divides into two main bronchi, each of which ends in a lung and allows air to pass through.

The Bronchi

The bronchi are a passageway that allows air to flow into the lungs. These extend from the windpipe to the lungs.

The tracheal tube, when divided in two at the caudal end, gives rise to the left and right bronchi.

The left bronchus is shorter than the right, the left is subdivided into 2 lobar bronchi, the right bronchus, on the other hand, is subdivided into 3 lobar bronchi.


The lungs are conical organs present within the pleural cavities. They do the job of supplying the body with oxygen and removing carbon dioxide.

The left lung is divided into 2 lobes (upper and lower) while the right lung is divided into 3 (upper, lower and middle).

Each lung has a triangular organ called the hilum, the blood vessels, nerves, lymphatics and bronchi pass through the hilum.

The lungs are the organs where the blood from the pulmonary artery is cleansed with carbon dioxide and enriched with oxygen.

The pulmonary artery

The pulmonary artery is the one through which the blood passes from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, where it is oxygenated through the process of hematosis, in the capillary alveolus barrier.

The pulmonary artery is the only artery that carries oxygen-poor, carbon dioxide-rich blood to the lungs. The pulmonary veins are short bulky and have no valves.

They are responsible for transporting oxygenated blood from the lung to the left atrium of the heart.


Alveoli are sac-like bodies present only within the lungs of mammals, at the tip of the alveolar ducts.

The alveoli function as an interface for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and the capillaries.

The gas exchange process in the alveoli is characterized by the inhalation of oxygen and the exhalation of carbon dioxide.

Oxygen enters blood cells through alveoli and a network of capillaries. This oxygen is carried to the tissues of different parts of the body through the blood.

Carbon dioxide diffuses from the capillaries that surround the alveoli and is finally exhaled through the lungs.


The diaphragm is made up of skeletal muscles. Creates a fractionation between the thoracic and abdominal cavity.

Contraction of the muscles of the diaphragm leads to expansion of the thoracic cavity, the contraction of the diaphragm is important from the point of expansion of the lungs at the time of inhalation.

The heart

It is a muscular organ divided into four chambers, its regular rhythmic contractions make blood circulate throughout the body.

The main function of the respiratory system is to breathe air, absorb oxygen into the bloodstream, and exhale carbon dioxide.

The goal of the respiratory system is to breathe, which happens involuntarily. That means that a person does not need to think about breathing for it to take place.

These organs work in complete synchronization, but when one of them malfunctions it makes the task of the others difficult.

If there is a problem with the respiratory system or breathing of a person, it can cause problems such as coughing, dyspnea, hypopnea, cyanosis, wheezing among others.

When a person cannot breathe well, it can become a serious medical problem.