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What body structure protects the lungs from outside harm?
Question Date: 2020-02-05
Answer 1:

Our lungs do need protection. The cells that allow oxygen to pass into our blood--and carbon dioxide to leave it—have to be very thin and delicate. If they were thicker, it would really slow down the movement of the oxygen. This makes our lung cells vulnerable to damage from particles (tiny things), germs, and chemical vapors.

One line of defense is our nose. When air enters our nose, it is thrown around by a sort of obstacle course. The inside of the nose is broken up into chambers by the turbinate bones. They make the air swirl around. There are also big chambers inside our skull that the air can flow into between when it enters the nose and when it enters the lungs. These are called sinuses.

The respiratory system, including the chambers inside the nose and sinuses, is lined with membranes that produce sticky mucus. When the air hits the mucous membrane, particles stick to the mucus. Then the dirty mucus can either leave out the nostrils or be swallowed. This is helpful with particles like what’s in smoke, or with germs, but isn’t useful for protection from chemical vapors.

When the air is passing through the nose and sinuses, it also gets warmed up and moisturized, so it doesn’t dry out the delicate lung cells.

Tiny little finger-like cilia are on the cells lining the respiratory system. They are constantly beating to move the mucus up out of the lungs towards the mouth. When it gets to the place in your throat where the air tube (trachea) and the food tube (esophagus) meet, the mucus can be swallowed. It can also be coughed up. Cilia in the nose and sinuses beat in the other direction to send mucus out the nostrils or down the throat. Again, this helps with particles and germs, but doesn’t give much protection from chemical vapors.

Unfortunately, the chemicals in cigarette smoke paralyze and kill the little cilia cells, destroying one of the lungs’ protection systems. The cilia can grow back after a person quits smoking, so sometimes ex-smokers start to cough a lot a couple of weeks after they quit. It’s actually a sign that their lungs are recovering.

Chemicals can be very dangerous to our lungs. Here’s one example. In 2000, 8 people who had worked in a microwave popcorn plant developed major lung diseases. The damage to their lungs could not be fixed. Half had to sign up for lung transplants. The cause turned out to be the artificial butter flavor that went on the popcorn. It contained a chemical called diacetyl (pronounced like: dy-uh-SEET-uhl). Later, workers in other places, like coffee roasting businesses, had similar lung damage. There are now more protections in place for workers and diacetyl was removed from the artificial butter. Unfortunately, “popcorn lung” is now being seen in people who use e-cigarette or vaping products. Many of these products contain diacetyl.

What are some threats to your lungs in everyday life?

Thanks for asking,

Answer 2:

Hello Queen, your lungs are one of the most important organs in your body and therefore, your body has developed a protection for them called ribs! Your ribs are bones that form a rigid structure that protects two of your most vital organs: your lungs and your heart. They are strong bones and there are a number of them, allowing them to form a kind of shell to protect your organs.

Answer 3:

The skin is obviously on the outside of the body. However, it is not the only organ on the outside. Physiologically, the lungs, the stomach, and the gut are all on the outside of the body (they are exposed to the outside environment).

As a result, those organs on the outside must be able to protect themselves. As it turned out, on all those body openings, there is a mucous membrane. Some mucous membranes secrete a protective fluid called mucus. The mucus contains various types of proteins as lubricants or antimicrobials.

Answer 4:

"Your rib cage goes around your lungs and heart to protect them from damage. Your ribs also move when you breathe in and out. Below your lungs is the diaphragm (say dye-a-fram)". Mar 26, 2018 HelathTopics.

Answer 5:

Depends on what you mean. The lungs are enclosed within the rib-cage and connect to the outside via the trachea, which has a flap that can close the trachea (using this flap is how you hold your breath).

Answer 6:

In terms of protection against physical forces, the skin, muscles, and rib cage all protect the lungs from piercing, impact, etc. In terms of protection against smoke, viral/bacterial particles, and so on, the airways to the lungs have very small hair-like structures that carry mucus, and these small "hairs" plus the mucus will trap airborne particles and prevent them from getting into the lungs. The lungs themselves also release antibodies, mucus with biochemical compounds, and immune cells to guard against outside bacteria and other pathogens. In addition, the mouth acts as a guard against outside particles, as do nose hairs.

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