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What is Respiratory Physiology?

By Alex Said
Updated: Feb 01, 2024

Physiology is the study of how a living organism functions and the main causes and attributes of its functions. Human physiology is primarily concerned with how the human body functions. Respiratory physiology is a subcategory of human physiology that studies the respiratory system of the human body as well as breathing patterns, oxygen distribution and control within the body.

The main area of study within respiratory physiology is respiration. The respiratory physiologist is concerned with not only how the body inhales air and obtains oxygen but also how the oxygen is transported via the respiratory tract to the other parts of the body, into organs and tissues and eventually into the cells of the body. The cells take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide as a waste product, so respiratory physiology also deals with how the carbon dioxide is transported and expelled from the body.

The importance of repository physiology should not be underestimated. The production of usable energy that the body makes and requires to carry out simple tasks is dependent on the supply of oxygen within the body. The body needs a constant supply of oxygen in order to make energy, the main fuel that the body uses to carry out cellular synthesis and biological operations within the body.

After air enters the body, there are numerous steps that the body undertakes to ensure that the oxygen is used efficiently. After the air inhaled has been expelled by the lungs, it is then transported to the rest of the body via the bloodstream to aid in the transport of gases within the blood vessels. This helps rid the body of carbon dioxide while at the same time bringing oxygen to the cells and tissues.

There are many ways to study the physiology of respiration. Respiratory physiologists also can be categorized in a number of ways. These include the species that they are studying, the disorders that they are studying or the type of experiments that they are conducting in order to study their chosen topic.

Respiration is under voluntary control, meaning that human beings do have control over their breathing. An example of an involuntary control is the beating of the heart. Even though respiration is voluntary and cardiac behavior is involuntary, the respiratory system and the pulmonary system work together to ensure that the heart is receiving a sufficient supply of oxygen at all times. This makes respiratory physiology a vital and crucial area of study with great importance in improving human health.

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