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Respiration, Part I

Breathing and respiration aren’t the same thing, but they go hand in hand. Breathing is a simple mechanical process whereby air enters and exits the lungs due to volume and hence, pressure changes. Respiration* is a more complex process of delivering oxygen to the tissues for cell metabolism and carbon dioxide to the lungs for… continue reading

Respiration, Part II

We’ve explained why air enters the lungs, what components flow in/out and why, but we still haven’t discussed internal and external respiration! Regard the image at right. Find the sad face. Here the blood is CO2 rich (45 mm Hg) and low in oxygen (40 mm Hg). This sad blood is being delivered to the… continue reading

Respiration, Part III

Oxygen and carbon dioxide are carried in the blood, pumped by the heart, and shifted through membranes by partial pressure gradients. Oxygen dissolves to a much smaller degree than carbon dioxide, so that at rest, the PO2 would only help provide 6% of the body’s O2 requirements. There must be another way. The hemoglobin molecule… continue reading

Respiration, Part IV

Successful respiration requires a delicate acid-base equilibrium in bodily fluids. H+ concentrations, however meager they may be, significantly impact fluid pH. Furthermore, hydrogen ions are highly reactive and react with many compounds, often disrupting their shape and function. Hydrogen ion concentrations must be maintained at ~4.0 x 10-8 in order to keep blood pH at… continue reading

Conclusion, Links, Sources

In conclusion, I’ll talk about two things I’ve never even done: scuba (darn) and the bends (thank god). These underwater phenomena summarize very well the concepts I’ve outlined. As a note, this page would be set to some of my favorite music, but amazonkers.com and towersucks.com don’t have sound samples for “Underwater Love” and “The… continue reading

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