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Get to Know Your Healthy Lungs

Alveoli

Moving the Air In and Out of the Lungs

Think of your lungs and airways as branches on a tree. Each breath you take enters the mouth or nose and travels down the windpipe (trachea) and into the two large airways (bronchi) that lead to the right or left lung.

Once the air enters the lungs, it goes through 22 smaller and smaller tubes until it reaches the tiniest tubes called the bronchioles. You have over 100,000 of them!

Finally the airflow travels from the bronchioles down to the 1,000,000 tiny air sacs (alveoli). These little air sacs look like clusters of grapes.

It is here in the alveoli where the oxygen (fuel) is delivered to the bloodstream and the carbon dioxide (waste) is removed. This process happens every time you take a breath and let it out.

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© 2005 American Association for Respiratory Care

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