It may seem like texting friends or checking your Facebook page is so automatic you don't think about it. Breathing really is like that. It is an involuntary reflex. No breathing, no oxygen and the body starts shutting down. Diseases like lung cancer and asthma compromise the body’s ability to get oxygen, and Respiratory Therapists work with doctors and other health care professionals to help people breathe and get more oxygen into their systems.
Did you know?
- The lungs are the only organs in the human body that can float.
- We breathe about 25,000 times a day, taking in between 2,100 and 2,400 gallons of air.
- Lungs contain millions of tiny air sacs call alveoli. Their total surface area is the size of a tennis court.
- The number of times a person breathes each minute changes with age. A newborn takes 40 to 50 breaths each minute. The rate drops to about 25 by age 5.
- Activity changes breathing, too. Resting, a normal adult breathes 14 to 16 times each minute. Exercise can increase that to more than 60 breaths per minute.
- One way to measure whether someone is getting enough oxygen is a blood test that shows the rate oxygen and other gases in the air pass between the lungs and the bloodstream.
- The brain detects changes in oxygen concentration and controls the rate of breathing. The brain also is the first organ to suffer when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen.