The lungs are paired organs that allow us to breathe, they compress and dilate occupying part of the thoracic cavity. Without them it would be impossible for us to live.

Breathing is living. Hence the importance of the lungs, one of the essential, most complex and sensitive organs of our body.

The lungs are two soft, spongy, elastic, and conical sacs  that are covered by a lubricated membrane called the pleura. This membrane is made up of two serous layers:

  1. Visceral pleura.
  2. Parietal pleura.

Despite its soft consistency, the lungs  have a high resistance that protects them  against tears and internal pressure.

Their size varies according to the movements of inspiration or expiration, and they have a capacity of approximately three and a half liters.

The lungs occupy much of our thoracic cavity.

Its location goes from the diaphragm to above the clavicles, enclosed by the ribs and they are separated by the mediastinum, which is a space that distances other thoracic organs.

Bronchial tree.

Near the mediastinum is the pulmonary hilum, which is where the bronchi enter.

A main bronchus enters each lung, which divides into secondary bronchi, which in turn are divided into third-order bronchi.

From those they pass to the intersegmental, sub segmental, oblique, filling, lateral bronchi and ends with the intralobular bronchi.

This branching of bronchi is what is known as the bronchial tree.

Right lung.

It becomes one-third to one-sixth larger than the left lung, weighing about 600g.

In each lobe, the tertiary bronchi are supplied by a segment of tissue called the bronchopulmonary segment.

The right lung is made up of three lobes with their respective bronchopulmonary segments:

  • Higher.
  1. Apical segment.
  2. Posterior segment.
  3. Anterior segment.
  • Medium.
  1. External segment.
  2. Internal segment.
  • Lower.
  1. Apical segment.
  2. Internal basal segment.
  3. Anterior basal segment.
  4. External basal segment.
  5. Posterior basal segment.

These lobes are separated by two fissures: oblique and horizontal.

Left lung.

Unlike the right, the left lung only has two lobes separated by the oblique fissure.

  1. Higher.
    • Apical segment.
    • Posterior segment.
    • Anterior segment.
    • Superior lingular segment.
    • Lower lingular segment.
  2. lower.
    • Apical segment.
    • Anterior basal segment.
    • Internal basal segment.
    • External basal segment.
    • Posterior basal segment.


The color of the lungs changes as the body grows and develops. In the fetus, it appears dark red, but changes to a pinkish hue in a newborn.

As growth and use, as well as all the particles that enter the body, the lungs turn grayish-white as adults.

Functions of the lungs.

We can classify the functions into two categories:

  • Respiratory function: Pulmonary ventilation or periodic renewal of air into the body.
  • Non-respiratory function: Filters pollution and metabolizes substances such as drugs and medications.

Breathing consists of three steps.

  1. Inspiration and expiration of air (pulmonary ventilation).
  2. External respiration, which is gas exchange between the membranes of the alveolus and blood vessels, which converts deoxygenated blood to oxygenated.
  3. Internal respiration, which is the gas exchange between already oxygenated blood and tissue cells.

Diseases that can affect the lungs.

It is estimated that we breathe about 25 thousand times a day, but that number can be affected by some disease that makes it difficult to breathe.

There are disorders and infections that can affect our lungs, especially by viruses that enter our body through breathing and reach the bloodstream, attacking the respiratory system.

These diseases include: the flu, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and asthma.

Lung problems are the main reason for visits to the doctor in industrialized countries due to pollution, bacteria and environmental changes.

Lung cancer.

It should be borne in mind that the body can develop lung cancer, which is due to various causes:

  • Tobacco.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Marijuana.
  • Contamination.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Vitamin A deficiency or excess.

You have to go to the doctor for a check-up and diagnosis, in case you experience symptoms such as:

  • Cough.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Swelling of the face and neck.

Treatment will depend on the type of cancer that is suffered, how advanced it is, size or location of the tumor. But among the common treatments are:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Surgery to remove the tumor.

Lung care.

Given that they are vital organs for our health, we must know how to take care of them, keep them clean and free of pollutants.

Among some activities to do to have good health in our lungs are:

  1. No Smoking.
  2. Work out.
  3. Less exposure to pollution.
  4. Eating food to cleanse the lungs.