Introduction to Breathing

Describe how the structures of the respiratory system control the mechanics of breathing

Mammalian lungs are located in the thoracic cavity where they are surrounded and protected by the rib cage, intercostal muscles, and bound by the chest wall. The bottom of the lungs is contained by the diaphragm, a skeletal muscle that facilitates breathing. Breathing requires the coordination of the lungs, the chest wall, and most importantly, the diaphragm.

What You’ll Learn to Do

  • Identify common types of breathing, including that of mammals and amphibians
  • Describe how the structures of the lungs and thoracic cavity control the mechanics of breathing
  • Explain the importance of compliance and resistance in the lungs
  • Discuss problems that may arise due to a V/Q mismatch

Learning Activities

The learning activities for this section include the following:

  • Types of Breathing
  • The Mechanics of Human Breathing
  • The Work of Breathing
  • Dead Space
  • Self Check: Breathing