Anatomy & Organs

Lungs – Structure, Function & Diseases


Humans are mammals and were endowed by nature with amazingly perfectly functioning lungs , which are needed for breathing. The lungs are therefore one of the organs that are vital and can also become diseased under certain conditions.

What are the lungs?

In medical jargon and in anatomy, the lungs are also referred to as pulmo – and are used for vital gas exchange. Under these circumstances, the first breath taken through the lungs begins right after birth.

In order to be able to maintain the rather complicated function of the lungs, this large organ, which fills almost the entire chest, is connected to both the upper respiratory tract and the central organ, the heart . In addition, the lungs are protected by the ribs . The lungs are an extremely well-perfused body organ.

Anatomy & Structure

From the optical point of view, the lung tissue looks like a medium-red sponge, which consists of two pairs of lung wings. In the lungs, the lungs are in turn divided into the so-called smaller lung segments. In each wing of the lung, the right and left lung, there are 10 lung segments, whereby only 9 lung parts are arranged in the left wing due to a special anatomical condition.The part of the lungs that appears thicker, called the pulmonary trunk, is represented by the trachea . The pulmonary trunk divides into the so-called main bronchi. The main bronchi fill the right and left lungs respectively. Deeper down, the bronchi become more and more branched. The bronchi become the alveoli directly in the tissue of the lungs.

The air sacs in the lungs are also known as the alveoli. In these, the actual gas exchange takes place in the lungs. For this reason, the alveoli of the lungs are covered with the finest blood vessels. Several alveoli form a sac in the lungs.

Functions & Tasks

The main tasks of the lungs are to “swap” oxygen-poor blood from the body for oxygen-rich blood. This means that oxygen-depleted blood becomes enriched with this vital gas by absorbing oxygen through respiration.

When the oxygen-poor blood reaches the alveoli, it is rich in carbon dioxide. This must be exhaled through the lungs. Both the oxygen and the carbon dioxide are taken up by the hemoglobin bound in the red blood cells. The erythrocytes are carried in the bloodstream by the pumping action of the heart to the lungs and enter the capillaries. These surround the alveoli and gas exchange takes place directly at the border between the alveolus and the blood vessel.

The lungs not only ventilate the entire body, but also the heart. If the carbon dioxide from the blood were not exhaled via the lungs, this would lead to suffocation and poisoning in the organism. When it comes to the function of the lungs, a distinction is made between a pulmonary and a body circuit. There is also mucus in the lungs, which takes on a certain cleaning task for what is inhaled.


In connection with diseases of the lungs , the focus is not only on acute but also on chronic diseases. Acute diseases, which include, for example, a pulmonary embolism or a pneumothorax of the lungs, often arise as a result of other underlying diseases.If the lungs themselves become diseased, this can be expressed by tumors manifesting in the lungs or pneumonia . If it comes to diseases of the lungs , which are triggered by inhaled particles, a so-called black lung develops . If the disease-causing microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses are involved, tuberculosis can occur.

Not only bacterial and viral germs, but also individual fungi are responsible for lung disease. Hereditary diseases of the lungs such as cystic fibrosis with an increased formation of mucus in the lungs must also be treated.

Allergies and asthma are among the diseases of the lungs that have become increasingly common in recent times . These are triggered both by natural substances in the air we breathe and by aggressive irritants. In addition, the so-called pulmonary emphysema is also a typical disease of the lungs.

Typical & common diseases

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.