Respiration: What It Is & How It Works [Micro Lecture]

In this micro-lecture, we discuss the process of respiration, how to assess the respiratory systemhow respiration occurs and what we mean by it. Enrolled students have unlimited access to a rich library of learning materials such as this.

In this micro-lecture, we are going to talk about the process of respiration. Let’s face it, it’s probably one of the more important lectures that we’ll ever have. And of course, as a Paramedic, you not only need to know about how to assess the respiratory system but you also need to know about how respiration occurs and what we mean by respiration.

So on this image here, you can see that there are two processes, inspiration and expiration. On the left, you’ve got breathing in, that’s also called inspiration. On the right, you’ve got expiration or breathing out. Expire meaning to exhale.

Now when you breathe in, you take air in from the atmosphere, both in through the nose and mouth, as you can see through this image. The nasal passages actually serve as a process of filtering the air. Inside your nose, you’ve got a layer of membranes called the ciliated columnar epithelium and these cells have mucus secreting globular cells within them.

So basically what that means is, there are little cells with hairs on them, fine hairs, and as the air breathes, air goes in and out,. As the air goes in, the tiny little hairs cling on to any particulates from the environment, so anything like smoke or dust. And this is a way of filtering the air before it goes into your lungs.

The air goes in through your trachea here, so it goes in through your mouth and nose down in through your trachea and eventually down into your lungs and down to the capillary bed where oxygenation, the oxygen jumps from, into the cells on to the hemoglobin and gets transported around the body.

So inspiration is what we call an active process. When you breathe in, look what happens. Your rib cage expands upwards and outwards and the diaphragm contracts and then this process of inspiration is active so it uses energy, it uses what we call ATP or adenosine triphosphate. Now when you are exhaling, the opposite happens.

The CO2 attaches itself to the exhale to be exhaled and notice how the diaphragm relaxes and everything is the reverse. And this is a passive process. In other words, it doesn’t require any ATP.

Now when we talk about just the processes of breathing in and breathing out, this is what is known as external respiration. So external respiration is the process of getting air in through your mouth and nose into your lungs. Then when the oxygen jumps off of the cells and into the red blood cells to be transported around the body, this is known as internal respiration.

So two different types of respiration, both extremely important. As a paramedic, you need to know this. You also need to know about some of the types of environments that will prevent this from happening and some of the other conditions and how you can treat this.

For more information on this lecture on Respiration Internal and External or about EMT/first responder/basic life support/advanced life support training courses and pathway courses to becoming a paramedic, contact the Australian Paramedical College today:

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