3 Interesting Facts About Your Lungs You May Not Know

It’s fascinating how much researchers are learning about our disease. Just as fascinating is how much they are learning about our lungs. It’s just amazing. It’s difficult to keep up, even for writers and nerds like me. But, that’s what we do. And so, here are 3 interesting facts about our lungs that you may not know.

Lungs start developing early

After gestation, all your cells are undifferentiated. This means that they have yet to be told what to do. In other words, you have no heart cells and you have no lung cells.

At around four weeks of gestational age, cells start to specialize. They are told by your genes to become specialized cells.

Some cells become spinal cord cells. Other cells become heart cells. And yet other cells become lung cells.

So, about a month after conception is when your lungs start developing. 1-2

Your have two lungs

At six weeks gestation, you can see two lungs. 3

Yes, your lungs are considered one organ. But, after the trachea, your airways split into a right and a left lung. Your right lung has three lobes. Your left lung has only two lobes.

Can you guess why your left lung has only two lobes?

Many of you reading this probably know the answer. If you don’t, I’m just going to tell you. It’s to make room for your heart.

Your heart sits mostly on the left side of your chest. It takes up some lung space there. And your heart is a pretty important organ too, So we’re fine with this. Actually, you also have two hearts. Did you know that? Check out: “Links between lungs and your heart.

Newborn babies breathe through their noses.

But, if something obstructs their airway, they are capable of breathing through their mouths.

Still, they are mainly nose breathers until the ages of 4-5 months. This is why it’s so important to pay attention to your child’s airways. Even the youngest kids are capable of developing colds. They are exposed to allergens early in life and can develop allergies.

So, if their noses get full of snot, it’s important to clear this snot from their noses. This is often all that’s needed to help them breathe easier. A simple, inexpensive rubber bulb aspirator works just fine. 4

Air passages are unique in all of us.

When you look at a tree, you see a trunk with a bunch of branches. As these branches get further and further from the trunk, they get smaller and smaller. At the end of the smallest branches are leaves.

We are often taught that no two trees look the same. They are all unique. This is similar to a set of lungs. You have large airways consisting of your trachea, larynx, and bronchi. They then branch out to smaller and smaller airways. They lead to small, grape-like structures called alveoli.

If you look at a set of air passages, they look similar to a branching tree. Your airways are well formed by the time you are born. But, after birth, they continue to develop. This makes it so every set of lungs develops differently. So, like trees, every set of lungs is unique. Kind of like fingerprints. 4

This may help explain the heterogeneity of asthma. It may help explain why asthma is so unique from one person to the next. We are all different. We all develop differently.

What to make of this?

These are just some interesting facts I figured I’d share with you. This is just some of the wisdom that makes us smarter. Please share in the comments below if you have other neat facts to share.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.
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