The major function of the pulmonary system is the oxygenation of blood and the removal of carbon dioxide from the body. Breathing ventilates the respiratory tissue leading to gaseous exchange in the lungs. The tissue is therefore specialized to present the largest available surface area within the protection of the thoracic cavity. The large oxygen requirement is necessary to support the high metabolic rate of mammals.
The respiratory system in man is divided into the upper and lower respiratory tracts. The upper respiratory tract consists of the nose, nasal passages, paranasal passages, mouth, Eustachian tubes, the pharynx, the oesophagus and the larynx. The trachea and bronchi are sometimes included as part of the upper respiratory tract. The lower respiratory tract consists of the true respiratory tissue, i.e. the air passages and alveoli.
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