Functions of the respiratory system

• Exchange of gases — oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange is the primary function of the respiratory system in order to sustain life.

• Olfaction — specialised nerve endings embedded in the nasal cavity send impulses for the sense of smell to the brain.

• Speech — the vocal cords in the larynx aid in producing speech.

• Homeostasis — the respiratory system helps to maintain homeostasis by maintaining oxygen levels in the blood and through the elimination of wastes such as carbon dioxide and heat.

The structures of the respiratory system

Naso-pharynx (nasal cavity)

Epiglottis Larynx Right lung Bronchus Bronchioles Intercostal muscles

Naso-pharynx (nasal cavity)

Epiglottis Larynx Right lung Bronchus Bronchioles Intercostal muscles

Pharynx Oesophagus Trachea Left lung Ribs

Pleural cavity Pleural membranes

Pharynx Oesophagus Trachea Left lung Ribs

Pleural cavity Pleural membranes

Fig 7.1 Structures of the respiratory system

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